Is working for Apple ethically tricky? Sure, the company is innovative, pays its (U.S.) employees well and offers tons of perks, but how about those conditions at the infamous Foxconn factory? Apple may be the second richest company in the world — but a big chunk of those riches come from cheap Chinese labor.
Indeed, Apple’s margins are deep in part because Foxconn Technology Group cut its rates so that it could retain manufacturing orders for the iPhone and iPad. The profit spread at Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxconn’s Taipei-listed parent, has narrowed to 1.5 percent since the debut of the iPhone in June 2007. Meanwhile, over the last five years, Apple’s operating margins have more than doubled, surpassing 30 percent. (On top of the labor costs, the company’s knack for extracting money from wireless carriers helps, too.)
OK, so: Do the trials of Foxconn workers give pause to anyone who wants to work in Cupertino? How about Amazon? Do you really know about conditions where the Kindle’s put together? And remember when Microsoft was seen as a scorched-earth steamroller?
Back in the day, this was the kind of question people asked themselves before they went to work for, say, an affiliate of cigarette maker Phillip Morris. But, the world’s gotten complicated. So tell the truth: Have you ever considered all the nooks and crannies of a company’s operations before you took a job there? Let us know — post a comment below.