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Credentials-based tiered minimum wage

Haven't found it being talked about with some cursory Googling.
  [vote for,

Implement a higher minimum wage for jobs that list an Associate's degree in the job requirements, and an even higher one for jobs that require a bachelor's degree. This is posted in response to a huge number of employers requiring college degrees and only paying a buck or two above minimum wage.
21 Quest, Jun 08 2013

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       Glass ceilings institutionalized. Some people might say that a college degree now is equivalent to a grade school diploma 60 years ago? Set a minimum wage and no one will pay more than the minimum. Start a union and become the next Jimmy Hoffa?
AwarmRay, Jun 08 2013

       // Set a minimum wage and no one will pay more than the minimum.//

       That's what folks said 60 years when the minimum wage was first implemented as part of the New Deal, and it hasn't proven true yet.
21 Quest, Jun 08 2013

       I was hoping for Pay Scale According to Height... (I'll be rich some day) [ ]
Grogster, Jun 09 2013

       [+] because this would also encourage people to get a better education.
DIYMatt, Jun 09 2013

       Average college graduate salary is $46,000 according to SimplyHired. High School graduates average salary is $21,000.

       Regulations like this would only hurt the job market for those you seek to help. And why does graduating from college make you eligible for a higher salary, beyond what the market bears? Someone has to be paid more because they were in a fraternity and spent at least a year in a drunken stupor, and are able to muse philosophically on Tumbler between lattes?
theircompetitor, Jun 09 2013

       Looking at several job boards (Craigslist, Monster Jobs, Snag-A-Job, CareerBuilder, etc) I've seen countless jobs with college degrees listed in the requirements and offering a wage no higher than many entry- level jobs with no degree requirement. About 4 years ago, I took a job in Loss Prevention (I was a thief-catcher). My starting wage was $12.00 per hour, no college degree or formal education required. Looking through Craigslist just last week, I found a hotel looking for a front desk receptionist which required a Bachelor's Degree and a starting hourly wage of $9.80. The problem with this is that folks who take such jobs are driving wages down for the rest of us by encouraging employers to employ such practices.
21 Quest, Jun 09 2013


       Proffers hand to be shook...   

       You are taking a naive approach to comparing wages. You can't compare jobs in such unrelated fields directly by wages and required credentials, because you're not looking at the totality of the circumstances. You don't know what other benefits the job as a hotel clerk offers. I'm not just talking about things like health coverage and such, either. To a newly minted college graduate with a degree in hospitality management, a $9.80/hour job as a front desk clerk could be a critical “foot in the door” opportunity, and a way to get an on-the-job education in interacting with the public in such a setting, all as a stepping stone towards a career in management. A job paying more hourly just to catch people trying to rip off electronics, on the other hand, is a dead end for that person career-wise. And some people may simply prefer the hotel job, and are unwilling to stand in a store checking people's receipts for eight hours a day.

       The problem with your idea is the problem with all minimum wage laws —they reduce the number of available jobs, while increasing the number of people seeking those jobs. You can come up with all sorts of sophistry to explain why you think that's not true, and point to all sorts of skewed evidence to demonstrate otherwise, but it really comes down to Microeconomics 101. It's a simple matter of supply and demand. Setting an artificial floor for the supply (i.e. jobs available at a given wage) and demand (people willing to work at a given wage) curves necessarily creates a shortfall, unless that floor is below the intersection of the two curves (in which case it has no effect anyway, because all jobs are filled at a rate higher than the minimum wage).

       Setting a minimum wage for jobs requiring a college degree would only make the current problem facing college graduates —an inability to find jobs after graduation—even worse. [-]
ytk, Jun 10 2013

       That front desk job might be a good stepping stone towards a better job, but itself is not worthy of a college education. It's an entry level job that any highschool grad could be taught to do, and highschool grads shouldn't have to compete with college grads for the same jobs.
21 Quest, Jun 10 2013

       So college graduates should be denied entry level jobs because they're overqualified? Or they should be given a magical free pass to take higher level jobs, even if those jobs require experience they could only have gained by doing an entry level job? Your argument makes no sense either way. Why bother getting a degree, if it will only be an impediment to you getting a job?

       If the hotel specifies the job requires a degree, it's because they're interested in attracting people with degrees. If they think they can do that by paying $9.80/hour, then what business is it of yours to tell them they should pay more? Maybe they only want to attract people who are willing to take a low paying job initially but want to advance quickly, and feel that by paying more they will encourage people to apply who aren't really looking for a career with the company, but are simply filling time until their novel gets published.

       Besides, this idea is fundamentally impossible to implement. Employers would just stop “requiring” college degrees, and simply refuse to hire anyone without one. After all, if you have several qualified candidates, nobody can fault you for picking the one with a college degree, and nobody can prove you rejected other candidates based solely on their (lack of) education.
ytk, Jun 10 2013

       //and highschool grads shouldn't have to compete with college grads for the same jobs.//

       I think they should - in a free market, everyone is free to do whatever they like - that includes going to college, and it also includes being choosy about where and for whom they work.

       If wages are being driven lower, that's fine - it ultimately means there is more incentive for people to start their own businesses and make money for themselves, on their own terms.

       If the college graduate doesn't like working at a $9/hour job on the front-desk of a hotel, great - they should be going out and implementing their own ideas out there for themselves, not getting caught in the wage-slave world of selling their lives at a predefined hourly rate.

       I recognise there are some arguments for regulating for a minimum wage - but I think more damage is done by the implicit idea that everyone should go out and work for someone else, than is done by "exploitative" wages.

       You can only be exploited if you limit yourself to working for an exploiter - most of the time, that's just not necessary. Instead of welfare, maybe a series of government startup loans could be issue to encourage people to sort their own lives out instead of relying on the government to take responsibility for them.

       I guess there will always be people who like the idea of a kind of feudal serfdom, it is traditional after all - but for me, it's the expectation of this as not just the status quo - but the only-quo that presents problems for the whole of society.
zen_tom, Jun 10 2013

       //If the hotel specifies the job requires a degree, it's because they're interested in attracting people with degrees. If they think they can do that by paying $9.80/hour, then what business is it of yours to tell them they should pay more? Maybe they only want to attract people who are willing to take a low paying job initially but want to advance quickly, and feel that by paying more they will encourage people to apply who aren't really looking for a career with the company, but are simply filling time until their novel gets published.//

       Companies can exploit people who want to 'get a foot in the door' by taking on low-paid workers or interns, with no intention of ever promoting them.
I think there's a distinct issue there.
Loris, Jun 10 2013

       //Companies can exploit...// //there should be domestic quotas to reduce transport costs...// //Impossible if your job is say, a welder...//

       A welder can be a jobbing welder, and, if he saves up and buys some commercial property, can become an artisanal welder and apply his skills accordingly - a barrier to him being able to do that is any/all legislation that he will have to adhere to in order to ensure he hires appropriate folks to meet the latest government fads, etc.

       All this government fiddling ever does is drive out the smaller entrepreneurs, stifle local startups and smother creativity. That welder might be able to put his time into some new and innovative process, and later, employ others to help distribute it, and still maintain his craftmanship and expertise - but it's much less likely to happen if at first, he has to conform to all this mad legislation designed to impose fairness and justice, but which ultimately ends up shifting the injustice from one group of people onto another.

       Maybe there should be a cap on the size a business ought to be before they have to doff their bureaucratic hats. i.e. encourage a slightly wild-west business environment where there's no minimum wage etc.

       OK, so there might be a few questionable practices, but you can always play safe, and stay nice and coorporate if you want (at a premium of course) two tiers means more work gets done, and higher levels of happiness, while stimulating more innovation.
zen_tom, Jun 10 2013

       I agree with everything that YTK said. The big accounting firms churn a ton of college grads thru their programs working crazy hours for almost nothing. If you make it you can then go off and make real money, if not, not. They are modern day apprenticeships and critical mechanisms. Also as someone who has hired lots of people, I can say that degrees prove one thing, you are a finisher, and possibly not much else, but finishing is important.
MisterQED, Jun 10 2013

       I should've expected stiff (and surprisingly reasonable) debate on this here. I don't agree with a lot of what's been said but I can see where it's coming from and can imagine such ideas working.
21 Quest, Jun 10 2013

       Business under 50 employees have very few bureaucratic hoops to jump through, at least on the federal level in the US. This is specifically to reduce pressure on startups, although it does unfairly favor "tech" companies that become multimillion dollar entities with five people and a server.

       As far as the other, a college degree should be no guarantee of salary. What you study, how you study, what you learn beyond classes, all of that matters. If you go and get a PhD in underwater basket weaving, no one is going to pay you any more than they would a high school grad.

       In real terms, a theatre arts degree or a music performance degree mean nothing if you can't actually audition well enough to make a living at it.

       If you get an associates degree and qualify as an RN, that's a different story, but not many of them are making minimum wage. (And even there, passing the qualification test matters more than the degree).

       I was probably significantly overpaid for the first six months to a year out of school, and I remain grateful that the company that hired me was willing to take the time to take me from an idiot with a degree and a head full of formulas to a functional machinery design engineer.
MechE, Jun 10 2013

       //Companies can exploit...//

       I'm not clear whether you thought your following comments addressed this point or you just forgot.

       To be clear I don't think 21's proposal would address this, I was only responding to ytk's enthusistic defence of the business practice of having a low entry wage.

       To my mind what would happen if the "tiered minimum wage" proposal were implemented is that businesses would simply stop asking for credentials they didn't actually need, for low-paid positions.
I don't think that would be a bad thing at all. But this does only address relatively low-paid jobs, not all jobs.

       Apparently, there's a gender disparity in how people approach job advertisements - if men don't have a mentioned requirement they tend to apply anyway, while women do not [1]. If the requirements are fluid or irrelevant then this is not good for either the business or a better candidate who excluded themselves, although I suppose it does help brash men.

       [1] This is only a tendency. I can report that I have not applied for any job which had any qualifications I didn't have. I always assumed they meant it.
Loris, Jun 10 2013

       Hi [Loris] yes you're right - I didn't mean to miss it off specifically, but ended up lumping it in with the other calls for regulation of other unfairnesses, disparities and inequities.

       Specifically though then, yes there is a degree of exploitation - but then one person's exploitation is another one's "working up through the ranks", "doing one's time" etc. If done appropriately, it should be temporary at best.

       //It's amazing how business types spout "Well start your own company!" as if 'business' was the trade of all people. It isn't. Most people make, think or design in domains other than money.// I know what you mean - but "business" is just taking responsibility for finding your own niche. There are lots of folks who don't think or design in monetary terms - and they can be the most successful ones.

       Yes, there's a lot of monetary hanger's on, but usually it's not long before someone recognises them for what they are - and while I do recognise that in some (maybe even many) instances, there's a money-first reality-second thing that gets in the way, I don't think that patronage is the best alternative.

       Having ground myself into the dirt for numerous rich folks, later discovering that my loyalty to them wasn't in the least reciprocated - I know how that feels - for me, the best thing to do is to freelance and I relish the sense of (potentially illusory) freedom that provides me.

       In the tech, design and who knows, any other industries, edge is often what sells, and unfortunately money gets in the way of edge. The sweet spot is getting a group of people together who trust and engage with one another, in order to get *something cool* done - and the money should come almost as an afterthought of that.
zen_tom, Jun 10 2013

       I don't think that's stupid - but neither do I think // The global economy is rotten to its core principles as it benefits who ? God ? People ? Morality ?// has any sense either - it's just a bunch of unaffiliated people doing their own thing. If you want to bring, god, people or morality into your life, nobody should be there to stop you. Equally, I don't think any of those things should be legislated for either. That's what your church, and your local community/society is there to do.

       Government should be in the business of trashing monopolies, and enforcing contracts - and for me, that's about it. All the rest should be managed by society and the people in it - leaving these things up to governments opens the door to abuse, in so many different and horrible ways.

       Economics (i.e. people doing what people do) shouldn't be divorced from any of those things - but it shouldn't be centrally dictated either.
zen_tom, Jun 10 2013

       // you go and get a PhD in underwater basket weaving, no one is going to pay you any more than they would a high school grad. // That isn't true at all. As has been stated previously, many employers don't care what degree you have, they only care that you demonstratd the dedication to finish school and GET the degree. Take the US military, for instance. Any Bachelor's degree qualifies you to go into training to become a commissioned officer, and an O1 makes close to the same salary as an E5.

       //A theater arts degree... means nothing if you can't actually audition well enough// That's somewhat true, if your goal is to become an actor. If you want to become an agent, talent scout, or theater manager, on the other hand, that sort of degree can mean quite a lot if you think you're going to be taken seriously.

       I never said EVERY job that requires a degree is underpaying its employees, but quite a lot of them do.
21 Quest, Jun 10 2013


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