Here's How Much Amazon Employees Really Get Paid

In 2018, Amazon's revenue reached the new height of $232.9 billion with a $10 billion profit. Before 2019, as the Verge reports, Amazon paid nothing — nada — on taxes and in 2020, it was set to pay $162 million dollars, which sounds like a lot until you realize their profits were $13.3 billion, meaning they're effectively only paying a 1.2% tax. 

One would imagine, then, that the pay is quite good. And in many cases... one would be right. According to PayScale, the average software development engineer takes home $118,875 annually, a software engineer $115,105, and an operations manager $82,485. All of these are actually higher annual salaries than what CNN reported for Jeff Bezos, who in 2018 took home his unchanging salary of $81,840. Don't worry, Bezos is still the most wealthy fellow in the world, as his stock in Amazon is worth over $10 billion, and he receives $1.6 million in security-related services and business travel. The thing is, since Bezos has so much wealth worth, that the amount of cash strictly in hand doesn't matter. Similarly, other CEOs and Founders, like Larry Page and Steve Jobs, only took home a salary of $1. As demonstrated by a popular visualization of Bezos' wealth developed by Matt Korostoff, Bezos is well and truly loaded, on possibly on his way to being the world's first trillionaire

Meanwhile, the regular Amazon employee isn't so lucky. 

Below the average

All of that, however, is looking at the average salary, or in Jeff Bezos's case, the average salary plus everything else Amazon makes for him. But instead of the average, one should turn to what Amazon employees earn in the bottom range, because the people in the upper ranges are presumably comfortable enough.

In 2018, Amazon appeared in the Verge's headlines by announcing that they would be raising their minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. Now they would make $30,000(ish) a year with a two week unpaid vacation (because the company will really miss that relatively paltry sum). The discrepancy between Bezos and his employees only grows worse the more you hear about the stories of the conditions in which these people have to work. To keep up with demands, as a Vox article notes, some fulfillment centers pump out 400 boxes an hour. Scenes of people locking the bathrooms and falling asleep due to their 10 hour work days are rampant. As a worker told, "Only robots can work as per Amazon's concept. If any human worked like Amazon insists for more than a year, I believe that person has some supernatural power or more likely they'll get very sick." 

This kind of work, which props up the digital economy that has done wonders holding up the Unites States through the coronavirus pandemic, should be properly compensated.