Fast food and fast money


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Brooklyn Kelley

Restaurants are desperate for workers during the pandemic, causing pay rates to be inflated for typically minimum wage jobs. Now, in some instances, more demanding positions pay close to the same amount as fast food positions do. 

Considering all the knowledge, effort and education that goes into getting a traditionally higher-paying job, these workers should be paid more than someone who is working at a fast-food restaurant. 

Panera Bread in Nicholasville posted a job listing for a salad and sandwich maker that pays up to $13 an hour with tips, plus a $200 sign on bonus. Meanwhile, Dixon Electric Inc. in Lexington is looking to hire an electrician for $16 an hour

This is not a significant pay difference considering the difference in level of skill and attention to detail necessary for each position. 

If one can earn close to the same amount making sandwiches or being an electrician, it is safe to say most would choose to do the less demanding job of making sandwiches. 

This is not to say that both positions are not needed, but it does create a shortage of people filling more physically and mentally challenging roles. 

Job pay should be based on factors like the amount of necessary background knowledge, the level of difficulty, time spent working outside of clocked hours and the physical and mental demands of the job. 

According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s May 2021 Financial Stability Report, there is $1,707 billion in outstanding student loans in America. 

People who chose to get their degree are not better than their peers who did not, but they do have the extra expense of post-secondary education like a University or a trade school that came along with their extra knowledge. 

Therefore, they should be paid more because they have their university experience to pay off and they are more qualified to work in a specialized field. 

Indeed reported that the average base salary for teachers in Kentucky is $14.65 an hour, which is barely more than many fast food jobs now. Teachers must have a college degree for their job. 

Jobs that require a college degree should pay more than fast food jobs. Otherwise, there is no purpose in getting a degree or going to college. 

To clarify, a college degree should not be necessary to get a high-paying job. A job position with good pay and benefits should be available to those who work hard for it and have the necessary skills to complete the job adequately. 

However, there is no reason that someone working at a restaurant making sandwiches, for example, should be earning an equal or greater amount than someone who does physical labor or uses intellectual skills all day. 

Doing jobs like farming, welding or plumbing do not necessarily require a college degree, but they are difficult, laborious and sometimes dangerous jobs. In instances such as these, individuals should be paid more because their jobs are more demanding.

Working in fast food is not dishonorable or in any way to be looked down upon. It is a means of providing for oneself and can be the source of income for a family, which is a wonderful thing. The issue with fast food chains paying their workers increasingly higher wages is that it gives individuals a reason to stop filling more physically demanding roles that are also absolutely necessary. 

Everyone should be given the opportunity to get a job that will pay enough for them to meet their needs, but caution must be used when increasing the pay for less challenging positions.

If pay continues to rise only for jobs that do not require as much from an individual and pay remains the same for those who are working dangerous or demanding jobs, there will be an imbalance of workers in fields that require a specific skill set and that are also necessary for our modern lifestyles.