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Businesses The Almighty Buck United States

Interns at Facebook, Google Out-Earn the Average American (axios.com) 215

Alayna Treene, writing for Axios: Long gone are the days of unpaid internships, at least at these 25 companies who are paying interns more than what the average American earns. Tech and finance interns in particular -- including at Google, Bloomberg, BlackRock, and Facebook -- earn more per month than the average American, according to data released by Glassdoor Tuesday.
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Interns at Facebook, Google Out-Earn the Average American

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  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @01:25PM (#54349627)

    There are plenty of fields where employees, interns or otherwise, outpace the salaries of the vast majority of Americans; however, put into context, interns at companies based in Silicon Valley are making just about the median income for the area and about 1/3 above the Californian median.

    I am not sure what this is supposed to tell us, honestly. Companies wanting to attract top talent need to pay decent wages. Clearly the marketplace is competitive, even pre-graduation, especially for those coming out of top-tier schools with advanced degrees.

    I mean, it's very nice that everyone wants to have income equality; however, let's dispel with the notion it's going to happen anytime soon and move along.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      I am not sure what this is supposed to tell us, honestly.

      It tells us that at least half of all people in Silicon Valley don't work as software engineers or management. :-D

      • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @01:53PM (#54349763) Homepage

        It tells us that at least half of all people in Silicon Valley don't work as software engineers or management. :-D

        That's a popular misconception about Silicon Valley. Not everyone here is a newly minted millionaire, billionaire or zillionaire. You got minimum wage people taking out the trash, virtual ditch diggers like myself cleaning up the messes, and everyone else who isn't management or engineering.

        • virtual ditch diggers

          Is that a new class in World of Warcraft?

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I think that's Minecraft

    • Incomeequality is quite a pointless metric because it doesn't tell you jack shit. Instead you should be focused on consumption equality. I guarantee you that I'm living much better off than people in silicon valley on less that half of the income.

  • and the cost of living in the bay area is very high out there 60K is crap.

    Other places 50-60K is good!

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      I make $50K+ per year doing IT Support in Silicon Valley by living a modest lifestyle. If you want to live the American Dream of having it all (big house, big cars, big wife and big kids), living here gets expensive in a hurry.
    • and the cost of living in the bay area is very high out there 60K is crap.

      My company in San Jose rents a five bedroom house for the summer, within walking distance of our offices. Interns bunk two to a room. This free housing makes it much easier to recruit interns from outside the Bay Area, because they save more of their pay and they don't have to look for housing (which is a major time-wasting hassle in SV).

    • 100k usd in SF was considered low incoming recently (thats a little over 8k/mo), according to another slashdot linked article. and it's probably true.
      4500usd/mo housing for a small 1 bed room
      35%+ taxes
      8.75% tax on purchases

      so.. 100k-54k = 46k.. - 35% (and thats a low estimate) = 30k left over of utilities, food, car, insurance, etc.

      • Exactly, I've looked at job offers in big cities and when I do a cost of living comparison I'm better off staying where I am. 95K a year in a town where 1k a month can get you a 3000sq foot home on a half acre of land, or 110k a year in a city where 2k a month gets you a small apartment....

        • I've seen the same thing I make good pay for where I live, I could get better pay if I moved but the difference in the cost of living doesn't make it worth it.

      • by ghoul ( 157158 )

        Did you just subtract rent and then tax? Wish the IRS was that generous. Its Tax first and then Rent. 100K is 8K a month = 6 K a month after tax (marginal rate is 25 fed+9 state but not all income is taxed at marginal rate). Noone on a 100K is paying a 4500 apartment. They are probably sharing an apartment or a room so say 2k on rent. 4K. Health Insurance+Car+Car Insurance+utilities = Another 1 K. Leave 3K/pm for food, retirement savings, saving for a Downpayment

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        I don't know anyone paying $4500 a month for a one bedroom in SF.
         
        $2700-3200 seems to be about the norm; you can get away with $1900 for half of a 2 bedroom oftentimes.

  • Seriously... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mongothesecond ( 3992413 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @01:27PM (#54349639)
    And some of these interns have masters degrees or better.
  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @01:27PM (#54349641)

    The article's main point seems to be complaining about income inequality in general which is a complaint of equality of outcomes. Focusing on outcomes never seems to work. The war on poverty has killed too many poor people. More focus on opportunity and let people work out their own outcomes.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      The war on poverty has killed too many poor people.

      Huh?
      • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @01:47PM (#54349727) Homepage Journal


        The war on poverty has killed too many poor people.

        Huh?

        GP is right - being poor is strongly correlated with poor health outcomes. Diabetes, etc. lead to death very prematurely, especially without management. Availability of healthcare isn't the primary factor; people who are in poverty tend to seek care less often and are less compliant on average, regardless of healthcare availability.

        The "Great Society" programs in the US have locked people into cycles of poverty. Look at the data for Eastern Kentucky, for instance: before the "Great Society" the net outflow of population was much higher. In prospective studies/experiments children who left with their families (subsidized to do so) at an early age did far better than their peers who stayed, and their life outcomes were much improved. But that's not how these programs work.

        Before the "Great Society" if an area was overpopulated for its industries, the lack of work would cause people to leave. With these so-called "War on Poverty" programs, they are incentivized to stay put and collect welfare checks instead of seeking opportunity. There are multi-generational families in Appalachia who have never known a typical work environment.

        Since the Green Revolution nobody is going to starve in a first-world country (obesity is our problem now). But the current Welfare State system definitively locks people into poverty and that turns out to be deadly.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "There are multi-generational families in Appalachia who have never known a typical work environment."

          Citation needed -- you can't collect welfare for more than 5 years of your entire life. About the only benefit you can get that's not time limited is disability or food stamps.

          • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
            As you already pointed out (with food stamps) there's more than one "welfare" system people are using. Subsidized housing, free day care programs, school breakfast and lunch programs... all take the sting out of not having a steady (or having low) income. There's also the EITC every year - perhaps the most direct income redistribution program we have (in the U.S.).
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The "Great Society" programs in the US have locked people into cycles of poverty.

          My test for "locked in poverty" is whether a person of ordinary ability who is willing to work an honest 9-5 can find good meaningful work that pays enough to support a small family simply but comfortably (i.e. no one in the family is going to bed hungry, everyone on the family has basic medical care, the children in the family have access to decent schools, etc.).

          The question of whether the government is providing such generous welfare that it's preferable to not work and simply collect welfare even though

          • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @02:58PM (#54350139) Homepage Journal

            So the one explanation is that such jobs exist but people choose welfare instead. The other explanation is that such jobs don't exist - well at least not enough for everyone.

            A third explanation is the one the GP alluded to: such jobs exist, but not locally. Because welfare is (barely) good enough and moving seems like such a risky endeavor, people stay put and get by on welfare.

            • So as a married man with no kids, if I move to eastern Kentucky how much welfare can I expect to get? Assuming I simply choose to not work.

              • So as a married man with no kids, if I move to eastern Kentucky how much welfare can I expect to get? Assuming I simply choose to not work.

                How would I know?

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by virtig01 ( 414328 )

                if I move to eastern Kentucky how much welfare can I expect to get?

                That depends on what you're eligible for, and how efficient you are at converting non-monetary entitlements into cash:

                https://theweek.com/articles/452321/appalachia-big-white-ghetto

        • by SirSlud ( 67381 )

          Availability of healthcare isn't the primary factor; people who are in poverty tend to seek care less often

          uhhhh ....

        • by dj245 ( 732906 )

          The war on poverty has killed too many poor people.

          Huh?

          GP is right - being poor is strongly correlated with poor health outcomes. Diabetes, etc. lead to death very prematurely, especially without management. Availability of healthcare isn't the primary factor; people who are in poverty tend to seek care less often and are less compliant on average, regardless of healthcare availability.

          The "Great Society" programs in the US have locked people into cycles of poverty. Look at the data for Eastern Kentucky, for instance: before the "Great Society" the net outflow of population was much higher. In prospective studies/experiments children who left with their families (subsidized to do so) at an early age did far better than their peers who stayed, and their life outcomes were much improved. But that's not how these programs work.

          Before the "Great Society" if an area was overpopulated for its industries, the lack of work would cause people to leave. With these so-called "War on Poverty" programs, they are incentivized to stay put and collect welfare checks instead of seeking opportunity. There are multi-generational families in Appalachia who have never known a typical work environment.

          Since the Green Revolution nobody is going to starve in a first-world country (obesity is our problem now). But the current Welfare State system definitively locks people into poverty and that turns out to be deadly.

          You're missing a huge factor- quality education. Somehow we have managed to tie the quality of primary education completely to where one lives. The good schools are in areas with a good tax base, and the poorer areas get schools that reflect the reduced tax base. Just a quick look around Beattyville, KY [trulia.com] (poorest white town in the USA) shows a lot of schools with GreatSchool ratings under 5/10. Multiple schools rated 2/10. The rating system may have some flaws but that is an indication that these school

        • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @03:28PM (#54350363)
          when poor people had access to health care due to the medicaid expansion they used it.

          That "Cycle of Poverty" bullshit you're spouting comes from right wing "Think Tanks" set up to justify abandoning the poor. If you track back who's telling you that and look at who belongs to those tanks you'll find industry lobbyists all the way down.

          People moving around out of desperation isn't how you end poverty. It's how you shuffle the poor around. And you have no idea how bad things were before the Great Society. Or you're actively choosing to ignore it. Or those "Think Tanks" are doing it for you. The outcomes the same.

          Poverty ends first with food. Women need food while their kids are gestating so those kids don't have mental problems. It goes on to clean, lead free air & water. Again, prevent mental problems. Next is education. Lots of it. All the way to college. That won't stop poverty, since we're running out of work (Automation & productivity increases for the win) but it will create a population smart enough to solve those problems. All that takes money, and if you think the 1% is going to pay for it by choice you haven't been paying attention to the last 1000 years of human civiliazion.

          People aren't starving because of food stamps and other welfare programs. Those programs are mostly allowed to exists because agribusiness lobbies for them. But even they've been losing to the "Cut my Taxes" lobby.

          At the end of the day everything you wrote is something you're telling yourself to feel better about cutting your taxes while abandoning the poor. I sincerely hope you're better than that, will realize what you're doing and stop it. Keep in mind, when the 1%ers are done with the poor, you're next.
          • At the end of the day everything you wrote is something you're telling yourself to feel better about cutting your taxes while abandoning the poor.

            It's jerks like you that condemn people to perpetual poverty by being tools for politicians who view welfare dependence and poverty as convenient vote getters.

    • I agree. In the "Why it matters" paragraph, the point is there is income inequality. I think it matters much more that there are good, high-paying jobs available in new, growing industries. That's fabulous news. And the jobs aren't all in the Bay Area, they're scattered around the country. So if you're stuck in a low-paying dead end job, get some software training and get an internship. That's a really plausible way to advance.

      OK, if you're a 55-year-old machinist in Detroit and the plant just closed, that

      • Once you get past your mid-fourties, you just don't have enough time or energy to begin retraining from the beginning. Generationally thing will work out. Your kids will get jobs in the new fields. But you may be left behind and that's hard.

        I'm sorry to hear that you plan to remain stagnant for half of your life. I'd like to hope that I will continue to learn and improve until the day I die.

        • Who said I plan to remain stagnant? I just don't think I'm likely to start a new career as, oh I don't know, a musician or doctor at this point.

        • by slew ( 2918 )

          Once you get past your mid-fourties, you just don't have enough time or energy to begin retraining from the beginning. Generationally thing will work out. Your kids will get jobs in the new fields. But you may be left behind and that's hard.

          I'm sorry to hear that you plan to remain stagnant for half of your life. I'd like to hope that I will continue to learn and improve until the day I die.

          Regardless if you are stagnant or not, the unfortunate fact is that opportunities shrink when after you pass your mid-forties... Of course companies don't simply go Carrousel [sic] [wikipedia.org] on their employees, but age discrimination is rampant in most industries (esp high-tech). The expected rate of return from retraining is certainly going to be much lower than someone who is younger (and of course the actual net return will be lower as you will have fewer years to accumulate whatever return you get).

  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @01:43PM (#54349709) Homepage
    When I did my six month software testing internship at Fujitsu, I got paid $10 per hour on a six-contract because they didn't have enough money in the budget for a full-time staffer.
    • When I did my 3 month internship I got 90% of the graduate wage. "Didn't have enough money" is no excuse for slavery.

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        "Didn't have enough money" is no excuse for slavery.

        Slavery, what slavery? I was tasked to regress 600+ bugs in six months, got it done in two months. Wrote a 300-page technical manual. Found a crash bug on the test server that my supervisor ignored, approved for the production server, and the company lost $250K in revenues as the engineers took the production server off line for three days to fix the problem. Of course, I didn't get hired on permanently and one-third of the department got laid off a month after I left to make up for the lost revenues. That

        • Slavery, what slavery?

          I should have asked when you did your internship. $10 for an internship is slavery by any modern or semi modern standards. Hell I got paid $25 as an unskilled factory hand while at uni spending my nights studying and my daytime working with people who struggled to spell their own names but did have the technical capability of dragging a palette around. And even that was 10+ years ago.

          • by slew ( 2918 )

            Slavery, what slavery?

            I should have asked when you did your internship. $10 for an internship is slavery by any modern or semi modern standards. Hell I got paid $25 as an unskilled factory hand while at uni spending my nights studying and my daytime working with people who struggled to spell their own names but did have the technical capability of dragging a palette around. And even that was 10+ years ago.

            Don't know about when the original poster did their internship, but I made $8.08/hour back in the early '80s (30+ years ago) working on an internship with a high-tech company... I thought that was great vs my other job waiting tables at minimum wage ($3.35/hour).

  • interns there, when you take other things into consideration such as free housing, free food, free laptop, etc. actually get more than many employees of these companies - and I'm saying engineers.

    interning there is a great, great deal.

  • Ah, that helps explain why so many Big Tech websites are slow as molasses on a two-year-old phone. I bet none of the interns is running a $40 SoC Android device from Walmart.

    n.b.: lots of your potential customers* are buying those devices right now.

    * you may know 'customers' by the more familiar term 'eyeballs' /s

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2017 @01:57PM (#54349779)

    These are arguably in the top 5 of companies at the center of a massive Second Dotcom Bubble. Of course they're going to pay their interns a lot:
    - Cost of living in SV, even temporarily, is more than just about anywhere else in the country
    - Google and Facebook do most of their hiring from Stanford and other top 10 private-school computer science and engineering departments. People who can afford to go there on their own will expect at least what an investment bank or management consultancy is willing to pay them for an internship. People who are smart enough to get into a private school on an academic scholarship are also probably worth paying that kind of money for.

    Two other industries, law and investment banking, are famous for internships that pay handsomely.
    - Big law firms will recruit interns from the top of the class of only the Top 14 law schools in the country. They put them up in New York City, pay them a comparatively large salary, and basically spend the summer shuttling them between parties and events while giving them some token work to do. And if they find they like you, starting salary is $180K nowadays. Too bad you have to be at the top of your class at Harvard, Yale or Stanford to get "drafted" like this.
    - Investment banks take on "associates" either while they're getting their MBA or just after. Again, only the top business school grads need apply. The difference is that they work their associates 100-hour weeks doing menial processing tasks for years. If you work out you're in the "cannot fail" club for life, but the route there is quite different from the law firm crowd.

    So, I wouldn't get too bent out of shape over this. Plum internships at hot companies aren't the norm. Media and publishing interns often get _nothing_ for a huge amount of very menial work.

  • Google it. Which feels iconic in this context.
  • Many degrees require an internship -> Look at education majors. This makes internships very competitive, if you don't get one you don't graduate. That means the employer has all the power in the transaction, oh you want to make minimum wage - we have another applicant that will take the job for free, you want to work for free, we have an applicant that will pay us to train them.

    Many degrees require an internship -> Look at education majors. This makes internships very competitive, if you don't get o

  • paying interns more than what the average American earns.

    Do people actually talk like that?

  • This doesn't take into account the differences in cost-of-living based on location, so it's a bit skewed.

  • cost of living in the bay area is high. tax brackets and AMT and benefit qualifications do not take cost of living in to account.

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

      tax brackets and AMT and benefit qualifications do not take cost of living in to account.

      No matter how much you earn, if you only work for 3 months out of the year, that puts you below the poverty level. At most you'll be paying maybe $100 in taxes.

  • Considering the housing prices in those areas, cost of living is pretty high. Unless they double, quadruple up, is that really a "lot" of money? I live out here in the midwest, where 96K would get you a huge 3,000 sq ft house in a pretty good neighborhood, couple cars, and money left over.

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