How Rich Is The Starbucks CEO And What's The Average Pay Of His Employees?

In what is perhaps not breaking news, the CEO of Starbucks makes far more than his average employee. According to Forbes, Howard Schultz, the chairman emeritus of Starbucks and the person who turned it from a coffee roaster with a single cafe into the ubiquitous brand we know today, is currently worth $4.9 billion. The average salary for a barista at Starbucks is $11.20 per hour, while a supervisor averages $15.61 per hour, according to Indeed. While the discrepancy between the two paychecks is one thing; the story behind the numbers is quite another.

Howard Schultz was just seven years old, and living in a Brooklyn housing project with his family, when he saw his dad laid off from his work as a truck driver due to an injury he sustained on the job, according to Business Insider. There were none of the systemic supports in place for his family that might have been available to his parents in this day and age, such as health insurance, workman's compensation, or a severance of some kind. And so Schultz and his family began a difficult chapter; one that he credits for making him the leader and advocate for social change that he is today.

Growth means more money and more coffee for all

In the 1980s, Starbucks was a regional chain with 17 locations. When Schultz stepped in, he began an expansion that would grow those 17 stores to over 30,000 international locations. "From the beginning, what they were hoping to be is the third place between home and work," Craig Garthwaite told Business Insider. "To achieve that goal, you have to be everywhere." That growth and the strength of the brand certainly translated into big (Star)bucks for Schultz, as the company reported net revenues of $22.4 billion in 2017.

And what about the average Frappuccino artist, scraping by on just over ten bucks per hour? Reader's Digest would argue that there is a hidden value to pushing beans for the coffee conglomerate. Both full-time and part-time employees get healthcare benefits, discounted stock options, and 401(k) matches from the employer. Plus, a partnership with Arizona State University means employees are eligible for full tuition coverage through an online degree program. Not to mention, CEOs have to go to meetings all day long, blech. Really, wouldn't you rather be making $10 to $15 an hour and have your freedom (and your art) than have to hop on your private jet every few hours for another board meeting? We thought so.