The disconnect between the incredible success of the corporation and the relatively low end pay scale of its retail employees, as well as the reasons those retail employees continue to work for Apple, is the subject of a report in the New York Times today.
The pay sucks (relatively), the stores are busy and crowded, and there’s little upward mobility, so it’s pretty much a dead end job.
Soon, so many people wanted to work at the stores that Mr Johnson would compare applicants to openings ratios and boast that it was harder to land a job at an Apple Store than to get into Stanford, his alma mater.
Apple Stores lead the United States retail market in terms of profitability but offer limited career opportunities for their employees.
And Apple is perceived as cool, much cooler than, say, McDonald’s or Walmart or Starbucks, so the company is continually deluged with resumes.
Divide revenue by total number of employees and you find that last year, each Apple store employee — that includes non sales staff like technicians and people stocking shelves — brought in $473,000.
Apple picks a small percentage of lucky candidates from the stack, which are submitted online, of course, through Apple’s web site.
The company screens for “affability” and “self directedness,” not tech savvy: The latter can be learned; the former is innate.
Check out David Segal’s description of what happens when you arrive:
Training commences with what is known as a “warm welcome.
” As new employees enter the room, Apple managers and trainers give them a standing ovation.
Though commissions are not offered, many managers keep close tabs on sales of warranties, known as Apple Care, and One to One, which is personal tutoring for a fee.
The clapping often bewilders the trainees, at least at first, but when the applause goes on for several lengthy minutes they eventually join in.
Employees often had goals for “attachments” as these add ons are called — 40 percent of certain products should include One to One, and 65 percent should include Apple Care.
Stores in a variety of fields have adopted the company’s retail techniques, like the use of roving credit card swipers to minimize checkout lines, as well as the petting zoo layout that encourages customers to test drive products.
Like many who spoke for this article, Shane Garcia, the former Chicago manager, talked about Apple with a bittersweet mix of admiration and sadness.
The phrase that trainees hear time and again, which echoes once they arrive at the stores, is “enriching people’s lives.
” The idea is to instill in employees the notion that they are doing something far grander than just selling or fixing products.
The company tried to hang on to its culture, but naturally it changed, and in many ways, say some former employees, for the worse.
It understands that a lot of people will forgo money if they have a sense of higher purpose.
In fact, when employees leave, their peers feel happy for them because they’ve done what everyone else working at Apple Stores wants to do, according to one former employee quoted in the article.
Second, it’s great for customers, and, therefore, for Apple’s reputation.
More than 1 billion people have visited an Apple store, more than 80 million per quarter.
There are only a handful of different jobs at Apple Stores and the most prestigious are invariably sought after by dozens of candidates.
Apple “specialists” (Apple’s brilliant term for its retail salespeople) are often the only human from the company a customer will ever interact with.
An Apple store employee refused to sell an iPad to an Iranian American customer, citing company policy that aims to comply with US sanctions on trade with Iran, WSBTV in Atlanta reported this week.
The fact that these folks have been trained in etiquette and feel a sense of mission is a huge asset to the company.
In recent years, the level of unhappiness at some stores was captured by an employee satisfaction survey known in the company as NetPromoter for Our People.
Last week, four months after The New York Times first began inquiring about the wages of its store employees, the company started to inform some staff members that they would receive substantial raises.
In an ESOP, companies provide their employees with stock ownership, typically at no cost to the employees.
Apple Inc.just gave its retail employees more reasons to like working for the company, but after a New York Times article Saturday focusing on Apple employees, it begs to be asked whether Apple was just trying to pad itself before the story dropped.
The next problem Apple, and the rest of the country, needs to solve is how to make these jobs become (or, at least, lead to) more of an actual occupation.
Plenty of technicians do, in fact, like their jobs, which vary around the country, and which pay in the range of $40,000 a year in the Chicago area.
Jeeuk MacGregor is a business journalist based in Busan, Korea. Jeeuk has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Jeeuk spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.