Underpaid? 5 Jobs That Deserve Higher Pay Than Minimum Wage

protestors in favor of $15 minimum wage

California’s minimum wage will be $15 by 2022 | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

If you’re currently earning the minimum wage, there’s a good chance you’re unhappy with what you’re making. Truthfully, a lot of people who are making far above the minimum wage are unhappy with what they are making too, but people earning minimum wage should often be making more. There’s a good argument for having a minimum because in theory, it makes sure people can survive on the amount they make, but of course, that isn’t always true.

The current minimum wage is $7.25, but many states have their own minimum wage rules as well. An increase in the minimum wage may not be a win-win situation, though. Still, there are some jobs that definitely should pay more than the minimum wage. Here are five jobs that should pay more than minimum wage.

1. Retail and sales

If you’ve worked in retail, you probably know just how awful it can be. Some people really enjoy working in retail, and it can be an ideal job for people who are social and patient. However, working in retail can be demanding, and employees often work long and monotonous hours. Another problem with retail is that workers often face very angry customers, and some customers take their anger out on employees even if their problem is unrelated to anything the employee did. Although some people would argue that retail jobs require less skills, and therefore should pay minimum wage, it is also true that retail jobs require a lot of patience and the ability to stay cool in difficult situations.

2. Customer service representatives

male hand holding telephone receiver

On the phone | iStock.com

Retail jobs require some customer service, but other jobs require even more. Customer service representatives perform a variety of job duties: They often provide information about products, handle complaints, and process orders. Although the 2015 median pay was $15.25 per hour, many positions pay less. In 2014, many representatives worked part-time; as a part-time job, minimum wage might not be as disastrous, but it can be very difficult for workers trying to pay all of their bills based on this one job. For a job that requires so much interaction with customers, it makes sense for employees to earn more than the minimum wage. Also, many of these jobs require night hours or other odd schedules.

3. Nursing assistants and orderlies

Nurse helping elderly patient

Health care professional | iStock.com

You know what makes absolutely no sense? For people who provide basic care to people in hospitals, or in homes, to get paid so little. Nursing assistants can have very physically and emotionally exhausting jobs, and they are responsible for the well-being of their patients. It seems wrong that the people who have to lift patients, and need to regularly interact with those who are sick or need a lot of extra help, should be making minimum wage (or close to it). The 2015 median pay was $12.36, and orderlies made $19,950 (median annual wage) in the continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly sector. Most of us would not want the people taking care of them (or their parents) to get paid so little.

4. Childcare workers

two kids with a teacher in a kindergarten class

Child care worker | iStock.com

Why is it that so many jobs that require taking care of other people pay so little? There’s a lot to be done for the people who are supposed to be keeping kids safe, feeding them, cleaning their wounds, and stopping them from biting and hitting each other. These jobs are physically exhausting, and sometimes emotional; even the saintliest person could turn to the dark side when surrounded by kids all day. It’s not that kids are awful — they are wonderful, but it is hard work to take care of a bunch of them at once. Yet, the median pay in 2015 was just $9.77 per hour; this seems wrong. If people want their kids to be well cared for, it would make sense to pay these workers more; however, the usual pay is very little.

5. Food and beverage service workers

workers protest for higher minimum wage

Fast food workers protest for higher wage | Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

The median pay in 2015 for food and beverage service workers was $9.16 an hour. While you may not agree that the minimum wage should be $15 (and paying employees this much could encourage automation), it makes sense that the people who prepare our food should be making more than the minimum wage. This is another job that can be very physically demanding and exhausting. Since these workers clean restaurants, prepare food, and then deliver or serve the food, they have an important job when it comes to providing quality food that is clean and won’t make us sick. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, workers are employed in restaurants, schools, hospitals, and also cafeterias. The shifts they work can include early mornings, late nights, weekends, and holidays as well.

These are just five jobs that should pay more the minimum wage. With the current minimum wage being so low, one could argue that all jobs should pay more than minimum wage. Yet, agreeing with that statement brings new problems. This is a conversation for another day.

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