Tag Archives: Citibank

Maths are important

One constant cry among education lobbyists in Washington is that we need to “do something” about STEM education. If you’re not familiar with the term STEM, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

I doubt many of us can claim proficiency in all STEM areas; I certainly can’t. However, when some folks share stories, I do doubt their math and economic competency.

Take for example this headline I saw on reddit:

This isn’t bad headline writing, as far as attracting readers is concerned. But, economically and mathematically, it is bad headline writing.

Here’s why:

  • The poster has no idea what is in the contracts of the “ousted” executives. It’s not like this bank said, “You’ve done a terrible job, and we’re firing you, but here’s a few million on the way out. Enjoy retirement.” Odds are their contracts stipulated the terms of their compensation in the event they were ousted.
  • Comparing 11,000 jobs to $14 million in bonuses may seem like a great idea at first to get traffic; that is, until you think about it. (Unless you’re trying to attract readers who won’t.)
  • How many employees could you employ with $14 million? Well, 11,000! If you paid them $1,272.72 a year.
  • Put another way, this could pay 11,000 people to work for minimum wage for about 4 weeks. 11,000 tellers for about 2.7 weeks, it could pay for 343 personal bankers for a year, or 206 branch managers. (This does not include fringe benefits, healthcare, etc.)

In short, comparing 11,000 employees to a $14 million total shows a disturbing lack of economic and mathematical knowledge.