Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What are your thoughts on income inequality?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    I don't know the answer to the questions, but I have some experience running a division in a megacorp. My total comp was 10x the average employee in my division and 20x the average line worker. I took a lot of personal risk when I accepted the position. The company was in a lot of trouble and needed a turnaround. If I succeeded, I write my ticket to higher responsibility. If I fail, I am fired. The decisions I made on a daily basis meant the difference between 162 people keeping their jobs or closing down the plant. If you offered me that job for less pay, I would pass and move on to another company that would pay me to take that risk. Or just work as an individual contributor (IC), which is not my desire. I like leading people and helping them succeed.

    As mentioned above, only 1/3 of my pay is base pay. The rest is bonus and stock options tied to the financial performance of the division and megacorp. The average worker has no stock or bonus. They get paid the same regardless of company performance. Again, more risk on my part.

    The question really is do I deserve that kind of comp? I can't answer that. I am very proud of what I did there. I turned the company around and made them profitable and growing. With a lot of help from a great team. The folks that decide whether I am worth it are not the employees I lead but the C suite above me.

    Comment


    • #17
      When I think of income inequality, I think of athletes being paid hundreds of millions of dollars to chase a ball around while teacher are required to earn masters degrees to earn roughly $10 an hour, if they can manage to find a part time job. My niece makes more money babysitting than she does teaching in AZ. My sister has a doctorate and has almost 20 years in, and she makes about $100,000 now. Plus, they wind up paying for all of their classroom's needs including a lot of supplies for the kids. Some parents would rather buy cigarettes than pencils. It makes me want to slap people.

      As for CEO's, most of them deserve what they get paid. My husband deserved to be paid for than he did. He was one of the first to arrive, last to leave, first to go without pay, and first on the chopping block if he didn't make sure other people did their own jobs. I watched an interview on CNBC a while ago when the McDonald's uproar was first starting. They asked an employee why she should be paid $15 an hour and she said because she couldn't afford to live on her salary. So she was asked why didn't she try to become a manager and she said that it was a lot more work and not worth it to her. I had to go for a walk to cool down or I would have put my fist through the screen.

      Comment


      • #18
        We don't all have the same opportunities to achieve- our opportunities for education, for promotion at work are incredibly driven by the zip code we were born into and our gender/skin color. These potential setbacks are tremendous and unconscious biases against minorities and women are incredibly real.

        Should a manager, a CEO make 10-30x more their lowest paid worker? Sure. However, the CEO of Amazon makes the salary of his lowest paid worker every 11.5 seconds. He is worth $165 billion dollars. This is an absolute disgrace. I wholeheartedly disagree that most CEOs deserve what they make, at least in these extremely large companies. Anyone who would retain that type of wealth while denying his workers a living wage, regular hours, and safe working conditions is a complete sociopath. In fact, sociopathic tendencies are not uncommon for CEOs of large companies, for to get to the top you often must step on the people under you, lie, and betray co-workers to continue to climb the latter.

        There's a notion among many of us that are successful that we are special, we are very bright, hard working, and innovative. I believe some of those qualities have helped me achieve my career goals. However, I know that the predominant force that led me to a PhD and a faculty position was my secure middle class upbringing, my excellent high school education, and my undergraduate college largely paid for by my parents.

        From a source I found online- "The ratio of CEO to mean employee pay was 25:1 in 1975, 112:1 in 1995, and 312:1 by 2017." Scary stats if you ask me. We need unions again.

        I also firmly believe that everyone who works hard for 40 hours a week deserves a living wage. A living wage means you and your kids are not food insecure and you can afford the very basics (rent, clothes, etc.). I watched a video of a man who worked at McDonalds describing how he had his kids sleeping in a car for a while because there was simply no money. How can anyone live on $10/hour, and why should they when their CEO earns mountains of money he could never ever possibly spend??


        Here's an example of how CEOs should be (Market Basket link below). I'm sure he is very well compensated and his company runs well because his employees feel valued. It certainly sounds like a business model that makes sense.




        Comment


        • #19
          Snydley, you make some good points, but where do you draw the line, and who draws the line?

          At some level, a company will pay as much as it needs to pay to get the workers they need. If there is an abundant supply of people willing to take those $10/hour jobs, why would they pay $12 or $15? That wouldn't be a responsible business decision. Last month, my job gave all of us providers a 20% raise. It came as a complete surprise. I was only 8 months into a 2-year contract so I had zero expectation that a raise was coming. However, the company determined that our pay wasn't competitive and that was affecting recruitment and retention, so they upped the salary. If people were staying and more people were knocking at the door wanting to work here, they wouldn't have done that.

          You can't have it both ways. You can't take that $10/hour job and them complain that it isn't enough to live on. You knew the salary when you took the job. If you didn't want to (or can't afford to) work for $10/hour, then you need to look elsewhere.
          Steve

          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

          Comment


          • #20


            While I agree at some point some compensation packages are seemingly out of bounds it is up to the individual to say enough is enough

            Jeff Bezos, Zuckerberg or any other highly compensated CEO at any point can decide "hey I am rich enough to take $1.00 a year as salary".
            I remember when the Chrysler CEO ( in the 80s I believe) did that while righting the ship, I am sure he had stock options.

            That is an individual decision if someone feels they should/ could work for less, but I do not feel it is my duty to decide when enough is enough.

            Why have I heard people call for boycotts based on assumption company X does not pay Y amount to bottom employees..... yet where are the calls to NOT shop Amazon cause Bezos has made enough??

            I worked for a retailer that openly bragged "we have always started people above minimum wage" what they did not say was only 10 cents over. No they did not lie. They just omitted how much "over " they paid.
            Most people simply do not look further then the original statement. I was talking to a friend who said "you should feel good that your employer is so responsible" when I told her the reality she did not feel like being their cheerleader anymore.

            I find the terms "affordable, living wage" and other terms simply without a clear solid definition.
            I know many people whom live well on an amount that "experts" will tell you cannot be done...………while others flounder with what seems to be a generous income.

            Comment


            • #21
              At some level, a company will pay as much as it needs to pay to get the workers they need. If there is an abundant supply of people willing to take those $10/hour jobs, why would they pay $12 or $15? That wouldn't be a responsible business decision.
              You can't have it both ways. You can't take that $10/hour job and them complain that it isn't enough to live on. You knew the salary when you took the job. If you didn't want to (or can't afford to) work for $10/hour, then you need to look elsewhere.
              If there was an abundance of $12-15/hour jobs that people in low income areas could reasonably commute to, I'm sure they would. This fight for 15 movement shows how widespread pay under $15/hour actually is.

              The business model that works is to respect your employees, treat them like valuable members of the business. Businesses used to be smaller, more mom and pop stores that cared and knew their employees...all that is going extinct, driven in large part by Amazon.

              Why have I heard people call for boycotts based on assumption company X does not pay Y amount to bottom employees..... yet where are the calls to NOT shop Amazon cause Bezos has made enough??
              There are calls to boycott, but it's not the roar I would expect. I do my very best not to use it. It's scary how sometimes by absolute only choice to buy an item is Amazon.

              I know many people whom live well on an amount that "experts" will tell you cannot be done...………while others flounder with what seems to be a generous income.
              I agree here, largely- most people above I would say the ~bottom 20% of the income spectrum could live without running out of money every month if they are in a resonable COLA area. You don't need to eat out every week (or ever) or buy your kids that toy or trip to Sea World. When your pants get a rip in them, sew them. Who does that nowadays?

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                I'm generally a believer in market forces driving most economic factors, to include employee pay. If a company won't pay it's low/mid level workers a suitable wage, they'll talk with their feet. This is like the protests lately of workers demanding $15/hr base pay. The companies that feel their people are worth it will pay that. But a company who doesn't will either attract people not meriting $15/hr, or they won't be able to hire anyone at all.

                Likewise, if a CEO turns around a company, or consistently grows strong profits, they're likely worth at least a fair chunk of those profits. If a CEO is paid too richly and isn't worth it for the benefit of their leadership, the board of directors will be able to replace him/her with someone else on a lower salary. But if the CEO is worth every penny, they'll keep the person on board and pay a handsome salary.

                I recognize that's a simplistic viewpoint, but in general terms, I find market forces to be fairly reliable. As a federal employee, I can tell you with certainty that more regulation does not assure better results... It just guarantees more regulation.
                These are pretty close to my views.
                Conditions and income for the lowest lever earners in the US has never been better. Also, with the low unemployment rates and companies starving to find help, there has never been a time where it has been easier to advance to a better job. Things could change anytime if we have a little recession, but right now just about every field of employment needs more help.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Snydley View Post
                  We don't all have the same opportunities to achieve- our opportunities for education, for promotion at work are incredibly driven by the zip code we were born into and our gender/skin color. These potential setbacks are tremendous and unconscious biases against minorities and women are incredibly real.

                  Should a manager, a CEO make 10-30x more their lowest paid worker? Sure. However, the CEO of Amazon makes the salary of his lowest paid worker every 11.5 seconds. He is worth $165 billion dollars. This is an absolute disgrace. I wholeheartedly disagree that most CEOs deserve what they make, at least in these extremely large companies. Anyone who would retain that type of wealth while denying his workers a living wage, regular hours, and safe working conditions is a complete sociopath. In fact, sociopathic tendencies are not uncommon for CEOs of large companies, for to get to the top you often must step on the people under you, lie, and betray co-workers to continue to climb the latter.

                  There's a notion among many of us that are successful that we are special, we are very bright, hard working, and innovative. I believe some of those qualities have helped me achieve my career goals. However, I know that the predominant force that led me to a PhD and a faculty position was my secure middle class upbringing, my excellent high school education, and my undergraduate college largely paid for by my parents.

                  From a source I found online- "The ratio of CEO to mean employee pay was 25:1 in 1975, 112:1 in 1995, and 312:1 by 2017." Scary stats if you ask me. We need unions again.

                  I also firmly believe that everyone who works hard for 40 hours a week deserves a living wage. A living wage means you and your kids are not food insecure and you can afford the very basics (rent, clothes, etc.). I watched a video of a man who worked at McDonalds describing how he had his kids sleeping in a car for a while because there was simply no money. How can anyone live on $10/hour, and why should they when their CEO earns mountains of money he could never ever possibly spend??


                  Here's an example of how CEOs should be (Market Basket link below). I'm sure he is very well compensated and his company runs well because his employees feel valued. It certainly sounds like a business model that makes sense.



                  I don't see why Bezos shouldn't get paid. There wouldn't be an Amazon without him, which means over 600,000 people wouldn't have the jobs they have right now. Who knows how many millionaires were made just from buying shares in his company. I have no idea if he is a sociopath, but I know for a fact that my nephew was low man on the totem pole at Amazon for a while and was paid over $15 an hour just to put items in a cart and send them to someone to put them in a box. A computer told him where to get the items. He had good benefits and stock grants, too. He had a set schedule and safe working conditions. Accidents will always happen, but if a warehouse was truly unsafe, OSHA would shut them down. Honestly, I don't think he even needed a high school diploma to get the job, so why would he be paid a lot for it? What other job with such low qualifications gives benefits and stock grants? Not that I'm cheering for Bezos. I don't really care for Amazon personally. On the flip side, I have worked for several "mom & pop" operations and got shafted. I didn't even get minimum wage for the first two jobs, and forget benefits or a set amount of hours every week. I worked at the whims of mom and pop. One restaurant owner told me that if she gave me minimum wage, everyone would want a raise and then her family couldn't spend the winter in Greece. Makes total sense.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Lots of good points already made. My general thoughts on the topic:

                    -I've never understood why people have argued minimum wage should be able to support a family. Minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs that do not require skills and training. They exist to get experience to the workplace and gain skills to move into more advanced positions or provide income while you get a degree. If there are jobs that are not entry level paying minimum wage, that's a problem, but the problem is not minimum wage itself. Sorry but you can't be a one income household and support 3 kids on minimum wage and the answer isn't increasing minimum wage, its advancing yourself into a higher paying position. I realize there can be societal, racial, and income barriers to this that present whole other challenges of their own, but the minimum wage isn't to blame for that.
                    -I don't care how much the CEO makes. I wouldn't want their job - couldn't pay me enough to live for my work. I work to live. My life is about what happens outside of the workplace. I don't generally agree that they should take a pay cut to give the lowest paid workers a raise; however, I do have an issue with tax inequality. I wish instead of looking for the loopholes to evade taxes, the wealthy paid their fair share to benefit the greater good, including programs to help their lowest paid workers and promote better schools in cities so everyone can have access to quality early education.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I too never understood the idea minimum wage is anything more then a starting point. I have not heard a rational explanation from those people who think employees should be able to support a family on minimum wage job.
                      There will always be good and bad CEOs or even upper management if they sold their life for a price, that is their deal.

                      The talk of TAXES is a whole other category in my opinion. I never understood why some wealthy ( example Buffett) get on the bandwagon saying "I could pay more" then DO it.
                      It has always been possible for those whom want to pay extra to the treasury. if anyone truly felt giving money for the greater good, they can write a check or simply not take all the deductions they are entitled to.
                      if they support the idea that government is better at helping poor or disadvantaged then write a check to the Department of the Treasury instead of to a charity that they get to deduct.

                      Deductions and loopholes are set out by the tax code. Many wealthy people will simply state if they take a deduction that is allowed how is that wrong.
                      TAXES are the system game the wealthy play to work in their favor.

                      I also find the ideas of programs on top of programs do NOT help low income workers instead create a maze of work the system that if you are good at can be rewarding.
                      The PROGRAMS are the game the poor play to work to their favor.

                      those in the middle have no recourse and must pay their taxes.

                      I can not even count up how many people (I worked in an industry that provides many starting jobs for those without many skills) that made sure they never made over $x amount so they still qualified for .many types of assistance. even calling in sick or leaving early if they were scheduled too many hours.
                      Those who were good could remember all the rules/ loopholes and could add up faster then anyone how close they were to the income limit. But they are often portrayed as uneducated or simple many are far from that.

                      This practice was, more often then not,was used not " until I get my feet under me" type of thing.... but year after year some turning down promotions or advancement knowing they would have to give up some program money including food stamps/ rental assistance /utility assistance / childcare help and on and on. That employer had health coverage even for part time workers but most did not sign up as insurance had co-pays and Medicaid had smaller or no co-pays.

                      I saw and heard people discuss their different strategies. This is NOT an assumption but something I witnessed first hand. There is also a complete disconnect between those who think they deserve the government handouts Never once seeing their co-workers were the ones paying for their freebies.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by msomnipotent View Post
                        When I think of income inequality, I think of athletes being paid hundreds of millions of dollars to chase a ball around while teacher are required to earn masters degrees to earn roughly $10 an hour, if they can manage to find a part time job. My niece makes more money babysitting than she does teaching in AZ. My sister has a doctorate and has almost 20 years in, and she makes about $100,000 now. Plus, they wind up paying for all of their classroom's needs including a lot of supplies for the kids. Some parents would rather buy cigarettes than pencils. It makes me want to slap people.

                        As for CEO's, most of them deserve what they get paid. My husband deserved to be paid for than he did. He was one of the first to arrive, last to leave, first to go without pay, and first on the chopping block if he didn't make sure other people did their own jobs. I watched an interview on CNBC a while ago when the McDonald's uproar was first starting. They asked an employee why she should be paid $15 an hour and she said because she couldn't afford to live on her salary. So she was asked why didn't she try to become a manager and she said that it was a lot more work and not worth it to her. I had to go for a walk to cool down or I would have put my fist through the screen.
                        This is a good point to debate free markets.

                        Babysitting and Athletes are in a "free market" or capitalist market.
                        Teachers are not.

                        Many years ago owners of athletic teams made all the money, players made little, and had to work second jobs in off season. When profit sharing comes into play, athletes now deserve about a 45%-55% cut of the revenue or profits. If I work for a company which makes $158 billion in revenue, I expect profit sharing. And I get it... last year I only received 75% of the target amount because we missed our profit margins by 2.5% or so.

                        Babysitters will only work for what they feel giving up their evening is worth, and there is a limited supply of quality babysitters.

                        Teachers have their wages controlled by a government, and there are laws which prevent teachers from seeking employment elsewhere (for example in MI if a teacher changes districts I was told they go to bottom of pay scale for that district). Meaning the ability of a teacher to negotiate a salary in a free market is impossible for public school teachers.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                          Snydley, you make some good points, but where do you draw the line, and who draws the line?

                          At some level, a company will pay as much as it needs to pay to get the workers they need. If there is an abundant supply of people willing to take those $10/hour jobs, why would they pay $12 or $15? That wouldn't be a responsible business decision. Last month, my job gave all of us providers a 20% raise. It came as a complete surprise. I was only 8 months into a 2-year contract so I had zero expectation that a raise was coming. However, the company determined that our pay wasn't competitive and that was affecting recruitment and retention, so they upped the salary. If people were staying and more people were knocking at the door wanting to work here, they wouldn't have done that.

                          You can't have it both ways. You can't take that $10/hour job and them complain that it isn't enough to live on. You knew the salary when you took the job. If you didn't want to (or can't afford to) work for $10/hour, then you need to look elsewhere.
                          This happened to me once around 1999/2001... There were layoffs going on, hiring freeze and "no raises". Got the CEOs email and everything. A few days later my boss called me into a closed meeting room, told me HR had done salary benchmarking, and I was being given a raise as a top performer (and one other person did too I am told).

                          If my company asked me to take a pay cut, I am confident I would get hired within weeks by a competitor, STEM pays.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by jiM_Mi View Post

                            This is a good point to debate free markets.

                            Babysitting and Athletes are in a "free market" or capitalist market.
                            Teachers are not.
                            Yep, government involvement in any market means it is not longer a free/capitalist market. Governments are not as nimble to making change as a free market requires.
                            My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              I live in an area with considerably more equal incomes than the US. As a manager I don't make THAT much more than the next level below -- partly because I work in IT and people are in high demand, but also because white collar workers all make about the same here. The biggest perk to that I have seen here is that people who work in management are people who want to be managers, and many people try it and switch back without taking a big income hit. Taxes eat up so much of what you make when you start earning significantly more here, that the biggest differences are the perks and pension contributions. More vacation time, bonuses, etc.

                              The big income inequality here is gendered roles. So for example a nursing degree and an engineering degree take about the same amount of time and investment. Both are very necessary for society. Nurses are traditionally female and engineers traditionally male. Nurses make considerably less money than engineers. So there has been a push to both use affirmative action for men in nursing as well as raise the salary.

                              And while you may react and say that is because the 'level and demands' are different, it isn't that simple. And they have seen that now when there are statistically more female lawyers than male lawyers and the same as with the doctors, that wages have also stagnated as well.


                              We don't have a legal minimum wage set by the government. It is steered by unions and agreements between companies and unions. Then if there is a company that doesn't have a union agreement that is trying to pay significantly lower salary, they can be taken to court for exploiting labor --- these rulings are based on how far those salaries/benefits are from what the collective agreements in existence for various fields/industries. The base salaries even for McDonalds workers is significantly higher than in the US where they make a base salary of 12/hour and more if later than 6pm or weekends.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                ^

                                you do bring up a good point, and male vs female "income inequality" is also another hot topic, which I will try to avoid getting into.

                                I can only speak for the US, but in general, I think people are fairly compensated for their work, volume of work, their education, and demand for their education. If nursing and engineering was equivalent in difficulty, yet engineering pays more, then more women should gravitate to that profession. Especially since college attendance is now skewed towards women, I think it's up to 60/40? However, we do not see this to be the case. Gendered roles are strictly a personal choice imo.

                                Wage stagnation overall is not a woman vs man thing. I mentioned this in another thread, but the push to get everyone educated in the US means there are now WAY too many people with 4 year and higher degrees compared to the available jobs, leading to wage stagnation. This doesnt even consider the huge numbers of foreigners in india and china also earning advanced degrees. As students careen from field to field going after high paying careers, it drives the salaries down due to competition.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X