Low wage workers in Silicon Valley are not reaping the benefits of the region’s economic growth. According to a report funded by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, workers’ wages are now less than they were 20 years ago although Silicon Valley has experienced steady economic growth.
There has also been a disproportionate 25 percent increase in low-wage jobs, while the number of middle and upper wage jobs declined.
Wages have stagnated for nearly 90 percent of the workforce with a decreasing share of total output going to tech’s employees.
Amazon announced earlier this month that it is increasing hourly wages from $11 to $15 after hitting a $1 trillion market cap in September. The new wages are set to go into effect On November 1. Amazon said that it is also ending its monthly bonuses and stock rewards for warehouse workers to help fund the wage increase.
Comparatively, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos makes more than $28,000, the median salary for an Amazon employee, every 10 seconds.
Older tech workers are also hitting hurdles with underemployment and lower wages. Since the 1990s, the average age for tech workers in Silicon Valley has dipped from 51 to 48. Today, tech workers older than 48 are typically paid less than their younger counterparts.
Business models and services have a huge impact on workers’ wages; however, Amazon is encouraging other tech-giants to increase their minimum wages and is working with policy-makers to increase the federal minimum wage.
Twenty states including California and New York have increased their minimum wages, making the wages higher than the federal requirement.
As Silicon Valley’s lower-wage workers continue to see a decline in pay, many wonder if and how other big-tech companies will reverse the trend.