With summer quickly approaching, it is prime season for high school students to apply for summer jobs. For Anna Burford, a junior from Carlmont, securing a job at Starbucks during the pandemic was not too difficult.
“I’m satisfied with the amount I’m being paid,” Burford said. “[The wages are] higher than expected, and especially now, I’m earning hazard pay, so I’m making a highly satisfactory amount of money right now.”
Moreover, the pandemic may benefit teen workers in the long run. Lopezlira maintained that “strong post-pandemic recovery would disproportionately help young workers, especially in terms of higher wages.”
At a local Baskin Robbins in downtown San Carlos, a place where high school students in the local area frequently apply to work, wages were recently being advertised as beginning at $18, well above both the state and federal minimum wage rate, reinforcing Lopezlira’s point.
Benefits and longer workdays are also benefiting teenagers during this summer work season.
Burford said, “This summer, I plan on working anywhere between 16-20 hours per week. [Working at Starbucks] is a much higher quality job than I expected, [as it] offers many benefits and gives me a lot of freedom.”
Burford noted that hiring needs have been amplified by the summer season, evident in her observation that Target is advertising available positions. As the summer months near, Lopezlira offered advice for companies to attract talent.
For companies struggling to attract workers, Lopezlira reinforced the need for a living wage and attractive benefits.
“In general, [companies should pursue] policies that create good quality jobs: wages that are sufficient to cover basic living expenses, working conditions that are safe, stable predictable work hours, basic benefits, health care, paid sick leave, vacation time,” Lopezlira said.
Lopezlira stressed the importance of the role of businesses in bringing back into the workforce the 4 million U.S. workers who have not returned to their jobs.
When posed with the question of whether or not businesses can attract workers back in sufficient numbers, Lopezlira ended on an optimistic note.
Lopezlira said, “If employers offer good quality jobs and pay wages that allow workers to meet basic living expenses, then the answer is more likely to be yes.”