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Am I also being unseasonable to think that one of the most valuable work skills our youth need is how to not get shafted by their employers and get paid what they are worth to the business?

(27 Posts)
Heroine Wed 05-Dec-12 22:09:53

And that means crappy employers who pay low wages, employers who don't develop their staff, and particularly those employers featured on woman's hour today who think that if you are young you are somehow worse at a job even if you have better performance figures than someone older which then justifies you getting paid £4 an hour less for the same job.

I think refusing to work unless the pay is right is a key skill otherwise people have to borrow to live.. which fucks up the economy.

Catrin Wed 05-Dec-12 22:21:20

Not sure if it was how you intended your post to come across, but you appear to be implying that younger people are above taking a job which does not pay very much.
i would prefer my dc to work hard in a job that paid little than to do sod all and earn nothing. Unless there are specific reasons a person cannot work, there is noone who is above doing anything. If you need money, you do what is legal and necessary to get that. Noone starts life wanting to earn £4 an hour, but sometimes circumstances dictate that is what happens. And I have more respect for a person who earns £4 an hour and works their arse off for that than the person who thinks they deserve more than that, so does jack all instead.

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 05-Dec-12 22:32:32


Shoe zone not only takes part in the workfare scheme, but they are advertising now for an "apprentice retail assistant" hmm who will get paid £3 an hour.

I was an actual retail assistant at 17 on NMW.

Why are we allowing exploitation of young people?

GhostShip Wed 05-Dec-12 22:38:30

I was an apprentice carer working for £3.63

I didn't feel 'shafted', I still don't. It was a stepping stone. Lots of young people can't get job because of lack of experience, it was a great way to get experience and they then employed me properly when I turned 18. Because of this experience I was able to go on to get better job.

It is crap money and it would be nice if it were more, but if it was apprenticeships wouldn't be available, and for people like I was it would be disastrous.

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 05-Dec-12 22:47:20

IMO if someone is doing the same job as the next person then their pay packet should reflect that. Age should not come into it, and adding apprentice to the title (unless its a proper trade apprenticeship) doesnt make it ok.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 22:49:58

People (whatever age) need to get enough money to live on.

GhostShip Wed 05-Dec-12 22:51:14

^ that defo should be the case. It's just with the job competition out there at the moment no one really wants to employ and unskilled person straight from school or college. Apprenticeships are a good way for them to get experience, but also cheap labour for the businesses sad

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 22:53:01

YY, exactly.

Heroine Wed 05-Dec-12 22:55:16

Hi Catrin,

I absolutely think that people should not do work that is normally paid at a higher rate at a third of the rate because they are young.

It is not about being above working - and I despise how you have tried to twist it around to sound like negotiating the correct rate for the job as being a personality flaw. I doubt you would have the same contempt for doctors and lawyers who regularly threaten to withdraw labour unless they are paid at the market rate or above.

Circumstances like low, humiliating wages are not a 'necessity' they are choices made by business owners who would rather they kept more of the money, and see their staff suffer humilation, low life choices and massiveley reduced, if not completely negated training opportunities.

More than that, low wages overall mean poor performance from every angle - low motivation, resentment, fear, humiliation and lack of self-esteem, which is not what we should teach young people that the world of work is all about.

If my children want to work for £2 an hour in a business that has area managers on £50K and directors on £650K doing what a 20 year old is doing for £6 an hour, I will encourage them to not work for that business, and hope too that other parents follow suit. When I was 17 I had a driving job where I could earn £250 in one night. I was paid what other drivers were paid, and that was that.

This below poverty level wage that is being encouraged and even boasted about as 'an opportunity' is shocking. The £2 per hour wage for 17 year old 'apprentices' at 1/5 of the living wage is utterly humiliating for us as a country - we are nearly back at the golden age of the slum and underpaid working poor that we had in victorian times.

I assume from your post Catrin that you are equating a relatively wealthy child supported elsewhere working for pocket money as a hobby with what for some is the money they earn to bring up a child. Shame on you for your ignorance.

GhostShip Wed 05-Dec-12 22:56:14

My brothers in the same boat at the moment. He's 18 and has been looking for a job for a year now. He's looked EVERYWHERE but he has hardly any experience. So he's been applying for apprenticeships, where he'll be earning a pittance. I feel so sorry for him I just want to scream EMPLOY HIM GOD DAMMIT HE'S AMAZING! Grrrr.

quoteunquote Wed 05-Dec-12 22:59:31

I agree, fair days work, for a fair days pay, no matter what sex,age, colour or creed.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 23:02:44

I know what you mean ghost. It is really awful at the moment.

I think a lot of people are losing out, getting into the treadmill of feeling they have to take on university loans because they can't see anything else to do, or else feeling they have to look for jobs that aren't going to lead to anything much when they have lots of potential. I don't understand how it couldn't be a false economy, since it must be setting up these people to have a big disadvantage their whole working lives, really. And they will be working for maybe 50 years so that is a lot!

expatinscotland Wed 05-Dec-12 23:11:47

What if you don't have family to live with?

ViperInTheManger Wed 05-Dec-12 23:16:17

I agree that young people should not be exploited but, equally, there are some young people who need to appreciate that everybody has to start at the bottom and work up. When I worked in retail we would often get young people on experience programmes who would refuse if asked to tidy up/clean shelves or stock, etc as they thought it was beneath them yet it was part of the job which the regular staff all shared.

I do not want to see anybody exploited but these jobs could be a starting point for employment

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 23:20:23

But everybody doesn't have to start at the bottom and work up.

Maybe it would be better if everybody did.

But it's clear that some people are able to buy into a higher level, isn't it?

ViperInTheManger Wed 05-Dec-12 23:27:41

Some do come in higher by qualifications and some, sadly, by connections, etc but that doesn't mean that a new, young member of a staff should think required but menial jobs are beneath them. A sizeable number of the youngsters we got thought they should start at the top.

GhostShip Wed 05-Dec-12 23:29:33

In all fairness most of the time they're doing the same tasks as the fully paid people - nothing to do with 'menial' jobs.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 23:29:49

That's certainly true viper - they shouldn't think a basic part of the job is beneath them.

I'm just aware not everyone does 'work up' as some get in higher by a different route but many also by connections or by being able to do previous 'free' internships which they can only do because they are well-off enough to afford it.

Heroine Wed 05-Dec-12 23:33:41

Its all very well being principled, but being content with doing crap jobs is easy on a decent wage for it, but humiliating if it means getting paid hardly anything.

If a job is so bad that most people would prefer not to do it, it should be paid a premium.

Heroine Thu 06-Dec-12 07:31:36

Just to add to the point - we are also training our young people to not discuss what they are earning and to give all the cards to the employer - the 'that's what the wage is like it or lump it' type approach - often we don't give young people the permission to say 'no' and encourage them to take any crap job on the basis that 'you have to work up from the bottom' (you don't), and 'its character building' (it isn't). I am still told to 'take something that might lead to bigger things' at age 40 by my parents, and sometimes by friends who know that I have got a wide range of experience that makes me more valuable to an employer.

This idea that working for effectively nothing is your only option in the machine that is capitalism is ridiculous.

redlac Thu 06-Dec-12 07:43:28

Disclaimer: I am now making sweeping generalisations, just my experiences

I agree with Viper - we stopped taking on young people as office placements because they were too much hassle. Unwilling to listen, do tasks they deemed to be below them, accompanied by a 'know it all' attitude which lead to general frustration because they wanted to run the office and not be the trainee. Realise that these placements were to teach them real life work skills but god they were hard work!

redlac Thu 06-Dec-12 07:43:55

Not making sweeping (doh)

TwinklingWonderland Thu 06-Dec-12 07:53:15

Yabu. I did several very low paid jobs before getting a decent one. What were my employers impressed by when I got my good one? The fact that I had always worked hard and been willing to be flexible about which job I'd take. When you start out you are bottom of the pile, something many big headed teenagers/early twenties refuse to accept. Take a job, prove yourself, move on if you don't feel rewarded and can do better elsewhere.

FWIW, I did several jobs on c£3ph before I got one paying £15k pa, then £20k, then £30k, now £60k. But if I hadn't been willing to do the £3ph job I'd never have had that initial stepping stone to other jobs....

Hope he finds something soon!

TwinklingWonderland Thu 06-Dec-12 07:58:28

Viper and Red I agree - when interviewing college/uni leavers, many (but not all) have had a real attitude that they are the best thing the world has ever seen and we should be so grateful to give them a job...arrogance even before you start a job is not a good thing!

LauriesFairyonthetreeeatsCake Thu 06-Dec-12 08:03:51

The bottom of the pile should be the NMW.

It's horrifying that anyone thinks we should go backwards like this. 27 years ago in my first job as a waitress (at 13) I got paid the same as the adult employees as I did exactly the same work - this was a poor community with a fierce pride in fairness and a long history of unionisation.

A fair days work for a fair days pay.

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