To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now
The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about
the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago.
The company estimates 1.5 million people work in the “app economy,” building and maintaining the mobile applications used on Apple products.
“Firms would try to set pay so that the gap between the security guard or administrative assistant and senior V. P.
wasn’t as great as you might expect, essentially by paying lower- and middle-skill workers more than they were probably worth on the market.”
Linda DiStefano applied for a secretarial job at Kodak during Easter week of her senior year in high school in 1968,
and was hired to start immediately after her graduation for $87.50 a week, today’s equivalent of $32,000 a year.
But a generation ago, big companies also more often directly employed people who installed products, moved goods around warehouses, worked as security guards
and performed many of the other jobs needed to get products into the hands of consumers.