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Tag Archives: creative class

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Pity UK Prime Minister, David Cameron. He’s a toff with tummy trouble. Dressed in white tie giving his annual speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in the Guildhall in London, the midriff studs popped off his dress shirt.  Untrimmed tummy exposed to a photographer’s lens, his embarrassment was quickly posted on the internet.

As wardrobe malfunctions go, it hardly compares with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl.  However it did spark a debate in the UK media about sartorial etiquette. At least Cameron made the effort to dress properly, the Conservative Party-supporting Daily Telegraph newspaper chimed. It’s the tie-less creative class that deserve a dressing down for dressing down, it opined, pointing to the newly appointed acting director-general of the BBC, Tim Davie, who turned up for his first day of work – shock, horror – tieless.

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The New York Times recently published an in-depth article on “Apple’s Retail Army, Long on Loyalty but Short on Pay,” as part of its excellent series on “The iEconomy.” The new article notes that the majority of Apple’s US workforce (30,000 of its 43,000 domestic employees) are not engineers – part of the hailed “creative class” typically associated with the likes of Apple – but hourly retail sales employees.

Last year, the article reports, “each Apple store employee — that includes non-sales staff like technicians and people stocking shelves — brought in $473,000.” Yet, many of these employees are paid just $25,000 per year.

The most common definition of low-wage work used in international comparative research is two thirds of the median income. In the US, the median income in 2011 was $34,460. This puts the typical Apple store employee at 73% of the median, making employment in an Apple store effectively a low-wage job.

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