Real Wage Enhancements

We understand the outcry for a higher minimum wage in America today. The intent is a compassionate one, but the fact is, the “real wage” (spending power) and not the minimum wage, is the real problem for most workers today.

THE MINIMUM IS THE MINIMUM …

Here’s an open secret that doesn’t get a lot of attention: “The minimum will always be the minimum — no matter what level the minimum wage is set at.”

The minimum wage, by definition, is the very least an employer can legally pay their employees (our customers and clients). Should that really be anyone’s goal in the workplace — to be at the minimum? And is that really what career development professionals should be advising their clients to do: “Go out and use your time, talents, and energy to find that perfect, minimum wage job?”

Of course, not!

MINIMUMS AND PRICES …

In general, business and manufacturers set prices based on what they perceive they can get for a product or service in the marketplace. If (and when) the minimum wage goes up, so too will the price of goods and services. The rationale is simple: “If there’s more money available in the marketplace, they can charge and get higher prices.”

The outcome of a minimum wage increase is almost always higher prices. And the ones who lose in the end are the minimum wage workers. That’s because the raise in minimum wage had little or no increase on their “real wage” (buying power).

REAL STRATEGIES FOR REAL WAGES …

Career development professionals are at the center of the debate, whether we realize it or not. We should be promoting strategies with our clients and customers that help them get ahead based on real wage growth. We don’t have to become “politicos” to do this.

This dynamic change starts when we realize that increased buying power (real wages) doesn’t happen among any group of people focused on the minimum as their career wage. But when the conversation shifts to increasing real wages, our clients and customers encounter an exciting, new vision for a wage that goes beyond the minimum and has the potential to keep growing. That’s when meaningful progress is really made in the workforce.

BEYOND THE MINIMUM …

If we want our customers and clients to enjoy an increase in their real wages, we have to help them cultivate a lifestyle that moves them beyond minimum wage careers. This happens through skills enhancement, establishing and maintaining a strong work history, and developing a pattern of lifelong learning in their careers.

CONCLUSIONS …

Lobbying to raise the minimum wage is truly a compassionate act. But the problem we identify is the problem we will solve. Is the problem really the minimum wage, or is it the real wage (buying power)?

We need to be keenly aware that a minimum wage focus results in basement careers for the people we serve. We need to be prepared to shift the conversation to improving skills, maintaining a strong work history, and establishing a career that embraces lifelong learning as a vital success strategy.

Let’s do these things so we can make increasing the “real wages” the real goal!

 

Upgrading Work Skills – Some Amazing FREE Resources

We are in the age of credentialing! Skills development…professional development…regardless of your work or career goals, every worker and student needs to up their game!  The thought of “going back to school” can be overwhelming and discouraging.  No time…no money…no access!!  Think again!!

Check our two amazing online training resources:  Alison.com and Coursera.org.  You’ll see their list of courses has everything from technical skills,  like microsoft office, photography, carpentry, to career development, time management, customer service, safety and health….and the list goes on and on.  And these courses are FREE and include course completion documentation.  There is an optional charge for a certificate personalized with their name for about a $25.

We just learned that Maryland’s workforce system has partnered with Alison.com to received documentation on completed courses that are entered into Job Seeker profiles…how great is that!!

Lifelong learning at your fingertips!  You’ve got to love it!

Career Portfolios-Traditional or Online?

Or Both!  The true value of a career portfolio is to help your students and/or job seekers better know themselves and help them market themselves during an interview (for a job, internship, or scholarship).  Starting with a traditional portfolio is usually good practice…it’s a great place to collect all those pieces of paper that are relevant but often scattered all over the place (certificates, assessment results, awards, achievements, thank you notes, and the list goes on and on).  TIP: google “Career Portfolio” to discover examples of suggested content since it may vary with specific career goals and life stages (high school vs encore careers).

Once you have a traditional portfolio started, an e-portfolio is easier to create.  The simpliest way to think of an e-folio is as a personal website that promotes a person’s career potential.  There are so many great free resources available…again “google” it.   e-Portfolios are becoming more and more popular in the Career Development-Job Seeking environment. An HR student of ours told us that she gets links to e-Portfolio’s in emails and thank you notes from people she has interviewed all the time…just another way to raise the bar!

Two great (free) examples of options that will connect with LinkedIn are branded.me and re.vu.  They will use your profile and create your e-folio in a snap! See what you think!

Above all, encourage those you work with to recognize that what they do in their life (volunteer work, hobbies, etc.) can contribute to what they can do in their future.  Help them write their story  by starting with a career portfolio.