I came across a really interesting post on the TradeMe message boards not long ago on the subject of pay raises. This person was a qualified tradesperson on $20/hr, and had just had a request for a raise rejected. Not having had a pay rise for years, he was worse off in real terms because of inflation. His company also contracted him out on close to $90/hr – sounds about right, that’s what T’s employer used to do.
It turned into a pretty heated debate, with commenters telling him he was grossly underpaid and no qualified professional should be on a rate less than $50, and others railing against greedy employers failing to keep workers up with the cost of living.
$50 an HOUR!!! My god, that is a LOT of moolah. That’s $2000 pretax a week or $104,000 a year. I’m right in the average range for an entry-level journalism grad ($30-35,000), and even if I one day work up to a more senior role in subbing or editing I don’t imagine I’d be breaking the six-figure mark. It’s not a particularly lucrative field – maybe I should transition into PR one day? – but to be honest, I have trouble believing my work would ever be worth $50 per hour.
I do, however, believe everyone is entitled to at least a raise to keep up with inflation. In my entire life (marked by a series of short, casual and part time jobs to date) I received ONE payrise, at the worst waitressing stint I ever did. It was a 50c increase. I was overjoyed.
Hard work deserves recognition and raises should be based on merit. But we shouldn’t have to work doubly hard to gain a big enough raise every year just to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of living.
Now that I’m a newly graduated, FT employee – may the situation continue, touch wood – I should have performance reviews and all that jazz along with everyone else. Wages and salaries were frozen last year, but with things looking up, perhaps they’ll see fit to melt the ice a little bit.
Because otherwise, I’ll have been here 2.5 years, albeit parttime, without one. If I was on the collective contract I would have had two small raises by now. A lot of people at my workplace are represented by the union, but when I moved from evening to daytime hours after a year I switched to an individual agreement as the rate was higher. (For all those who do weekends and shifts, though, the union has a great thing going on with several different allowances and extra payments. It’s all a tad complicated – but at least they get compensation for their odd hours. I think Sundays garner double the pay!)
What about you – what do you consider a “professional” rate for your industry? Do you think employees deserve cost-of-living raises?