Trump’s New Sprint Jobs – All Talk, Low Paycheck?
Is a low paying call center job better than no job? Maybe. It depends on how much of the Trump/Sprint Kool-Aid you want to drink. Or maybe make that a love potion.
President-elect Donald Trump was quick to boast about plans to bring back 5,000 Sprint jobs to the U.S.
“We just had some very good news, because of what is happening and the spirit and the hope. I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States, “Trump said during brief remarks at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, that were quoted in the New York Post.
“They have taken them from other countries. They are bringing them back.”
But just how good is this deal for American workers?
Good Jobs or Bottom Feeder Jobs?
How good the news really is will depend on what kind of jobs these 5,000 new positions are. Will any be well-paid IT and software engineering jobs? Or will they all be low paid call center reps?
Although Sprint’s pay rate for its tech staffers is well below Silicon Valley averages, given that Sprint is headquartered in Overland, Kansas with satellite offices mostly scattered in other low cost states like Missouri, Texas and Georgia, a Sprint tech job could be good. That is, if you can stomach the red state politics that comes with those territories.
Sprint’s current average base salary for tech workers is $81,255 with a total pay package of $109,80, according to Paysa data. But the current median home price in Overland, Kansas is $257,300 on Zillow while the current median home price in Palo Alto is $2, 473,100. Trade-offs, right?
On another positive note, the company’s tech staff is 30% female and nearly 5% Latino and 3% African American all of which are higher rates for those group than at most tech companies.
Sprint right now is looking to hire about 200 tech people, Paysa information shows – nearly 70 for its Overland offices, 30 in Reston, VA and nearly another 30 in Kansas City, Missouri where the median home prices is $115,000.
But doing the math that means a lot of those 5,000 new jobs trumpeted by Trump may in fact, be call center positions.
“The vast majority of these new positions will be poorly paying and first in line for any future belt-tightening if things go south at America’s #4 carrier,” commented Dave Ruddock on the tech blog Android Police.
Call center pay ranges from $13 per hour to $19 per hour.
Regardless, Sprint is trying to use the current climate to get some love from the media and the public.
Why Sprint Needs Trump
Sprint needs the Trump bump in publicity as much as Trump needs Sprint as a poster child for jobs returning to the U.S. Sprint has been the wireless telecom industry’s slacker in recent years and ranks as the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S. behind Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
Both AT&T and Verizon had a 34 percent market share in 2014 compared to Sprint’s 16 percent, according to Statista. By Q2 2016, Verizon was in the number 1 slot with 142.754 subscribers, AT&T had 131.805, and T-Mobile pulled in third with 67.384. Sprint’s fourth place subscriber total was 58.446, as quantified by FierceWireless, an analytics website for the wireless industry.
Sprint’s Q2 2016 revenue from wireless services looks even more lackluster:
Verizon $16,741 million
AT&T $14,912 million
T-Mobile $ 6,888 million
Sprint $ 5,933 million
Said one commenter on a recent media story about the new Sprint jobs, “Sprint has been circling the drain for so long that I doubt they’ve paid in taxes in the past decade. Anyone stupid enough to jump up and down and think we’re going to Make America Great Again with a bunch of call center jobs with no benefits is an idiot.”
Sprint Cut 6,000 Jobs In the Last Two Years
Last January, Sprint cut at least 2,500 jobs according to report in its home state’s key newspaper, the Kansas City Star.
About 2,000 of those layoffs were call center jobs, but five vice presidents were axed. Sprint’s Overland Park headquarters campus shed 574 other jobs in technology and marketing.
“This marks Sprint’s third wave of cutbacks in the last two years. The company shed 1,700 jobs in the fall of 2014 and announced plans to cut 2,000 more. The 2,500 come on top of those totals, bringing the disclosed job cuts in that time to more than 6,000,” the news account said.
But overall it’s better to have 5,000 of those 6,000 jobs back in the USA.
What Does the Future Hold For Sprint?
The troubling question is that with Sprint’s ongoing poor financial performance, how secure are those new jobs? “Sprint is seeking to merge with T-Mobile, a deal the Obama White House scuttled, but that the Trump White House may well allow,” stated Jeff Spross, a columnist for the news magazine The Week. What would happen to all those Sprint call center jobs then?
Forbes speculates that the merger may be unlikely because of Sprint’s heavy debt load.
“Sprint remains heavily indebted, with net debt standing at over $31 billion, and the carrier has had to resort to improving liquidity by mortgaging its core assets and slashing costs. Sprint’s parent firm Softbank also has its hands tied to an extent after it announced a $32 billion deal to buy British chip designer ARM Holdings earlier this year,” said Forbes.
As Trump himself might say, “Sad.”