Apple is hiking hourly pay for retail employees to $22 an hour. Corporate workers are getting a boost, too

Apple is the latest big tech company to increase its pay amid record inflation and the fight for tech talent.

On Wednesday, the Cupertino, Calif., company announced in an email to employees that it would increase its compensation budget and boost pay for both corporate and retail employees nationwide, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The tech company would increase the starting hourly pay for retail employees to $22/hour, an increase from $20/hour, notes CNBC. Pay increases could take effect as early as July, and only apply to employees in the U.S.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple’s decision follows other big tech companies, like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, to review how much their employees are paid. Wages across the tech sector, including for top talent, are increasing as companies compete for a small population of skilled workers. U.S. employers posted 1.1 million tech jobs in the first quarter of 2022, or a 43% increase from a year earlier, notes the Wall Street Journal.

In February, Amazon doubled its maximum base pay from $160,000 to $350,000, citing a “particularly competitive labor market” and “the need to remain competitive for attracting and retaining top talent.” And this month, Microsoft announced that it was doubling its budget for merit-based salary increases.

Google is also reviewing its compensation policies and considering pay increases, reports CNBC, after Google employees complained about low pay compared with other major tech companies—including Apple. Other tech companies are slowing or even freezing hiring owing to rising labor costs.

Apple’s announcement on Wednesday follows earlier decisions by the tech company to increase pay and benefits for retail staff. In February, Apple told employees that it planned to offer more paid vacation and sick leave days to retail employees, including part-time workers. 

Apple’s retail employees have complained about working conditions at Apple stores, both before and during the pandemic. Workers have been frustrated with long shifts and poor corporate messaging, as well as harm to their mental health owing to long hours working from home during the COVID pandemic, noted an investigation from The Verge published last year.

And like other high-end retail outlets, Apple retail employees are organizing.

On Wednesday, workers at a Louisville Apple store became the fourth group to launch a union drive, following those at stores in Atlanta; New York City; and Towson, Md.

The same day, Apple retail chief Deirdre O’Brien warned against these initiatives. “I worry about what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship,” she said in a video to employees. 

Apple wouldn’t be the only company to have increased wages amid calls for a union. On May 3, Starbucks announced that it would increase pay at its corporate-owned locations—though not at stores that had unionized or were in the process of unionizing.

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