If we trawl back through the depths of history, we can lay our eyes on some pretty wealthy figures. We aren’t talking mere millions here, either. No, that would be considered pocket money to some of these folks.
Take Mansa Musa, for example. King of the Mali empire, Musa lived between the years of 1280 and 1337. His wealth? Well, it can only be described as ‘indescribable.’
Then we’ve got the likes of our modern-day monetary giants—like the Scottish American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and the American Business magnate John D Rockefeller.
Now, however, we have dot-com billionaires—those living amongst us who we might see donning their sleek suits for work, and who we can actually compare our wealth against. But can we?
It recently became apparent that if you were to have saved $10,000 every single day since the pyramids were built back in 2540 B.C, you’d still only have amassed a fifth of Jeff Bezos’ net worth. Quite outstanding isn’t it?
Well, with this in mind, we thought we’d see just how rich the richest are, comparing their net worth against the employees who work for them.
Let’s dive in.
1. Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon.com, saw his fortune grow considerably over lockdown. While other businesses sank or floated thanks to Covid restrictions and lack of versatility, Amazon truly excelled.
In the three months building up to June 30 2020, Amazon employed 175,000 staff across its operations, as online sales grew by more than 50%, and web services grew by 29%. The hiring spree didn’t slow down the next year.
Amazon's headcount peaked in 2021 when the American multinational e-commerce company employed 1,608,000 full- and part-time employees, not counting external contractors.
Although in 2022, the number dropped to 1,541,000 full- and part-time employees, this inherent growth over the years added just a little extra to Bezos’ pension pot, whose net worth stood at 127 billion as of April 2023.
But did you know that Amazon warehouse operatives were earning a mere $11 per hour?
Now, to put that into perspective, Amazon has been reported to turn a profit of $4,722 a second, which translates to $17 million an hour.
2. Bill Gates
Featuring prominently as the world’s wealthiest individual over the past few decades, Bill Gates is no stranger to a dollar bill. In fact, he only recently got pipped to the post by Bernard Arnault, Elon Mask, and Jeff Bezos, who have now vanished into the distance when it comes to net worth.
As of March 2023, the co-founder of Microsoft had an estimated net worth of $113 billion, making him the fourth-richest person in the world according to Bloomberg News.
If Bill was to spend $1 million a day, it would take him approximately 245 years to spend his fortune. But, curiously, the lowest-paid member of his company is only operating at an hourly wage of $11.68 an hour, totaling $23,360 per year.
Despite giving away a lot of his shrapnel to charity and philanthropic works, Gates joins Bezos not only in the plus-$100 billion club, but also in the club that pays their staff effective minimum wage.
3. Bernard Arnault
The name LVMH might not ring any bells but we’re fairly confident the companies within will.
The world’s biggest luxury goods company LVMH includes brand such as Hennessey, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Moet—and many more.
Arnault and his family have an estimated net worth of a whopping $240 billion as of April 2023, according to Forbes, making him the wealthiest person in the world.
Does big wealth at the top, however, filter through to the bottom? The answer is no.
According to reports, the lowest-paid member of staff in the LMVH team is earning an hourly rate of $11.30.
4. Warren Buffet
If there was ever a man to speak to regarding your investments, it isn’t Tony from your local Building Society (no disrespect Tony), it’s Berkshire Hathaway founder, Warren Buffet.
Buffet filed his first tax return at the age of just 14—declaring his earning from his paper round.
Now boasting a net worth of $113.3 billion, as of March 2023, making him the fifth-richest person in the world, Buffet is neither a fan of social media nor the ever-growing cryptocurrency.
When it comes to his staff, however, how does a man known for his frugality pay?
Well, you might be surprised to discover that the lowest-paid employee in Buffet’s organisation is considerably higher than that of his three counterparts already accounted for in the rich list.
Work for Berkshire Hathaway as the lowest-paid entity and you’ll walk away with $13.17 an hour—not necessarily anything to write home about but still better than the others.
5. Larry Ellison
No longer the CEO of Oracle having stepped down from his duties in 2014, Larry Ellison does still happen to be Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of software giant Oracle.
As of February 2023, he was listed by Bloomberg Billionaires Index as the sixth-wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated fortune of $102.6 billion.
Do the staff at the bottom of the food chain at Oracle share in spoils of that fairly meaty pie?
Once again, it’s a no — working as the lowest-paid member in the Oracle team will bring you in an hourly wage of $11.30.
This all goes to show that just because you work for a company that turns a ridiculous profit, doesn’t mean that you’ll be reaping a healthy chunk of the reward.