The ongoing public conversation regarding wages makes it confusing and difficult to have a good understanding of what an appropriate wage might be, especially for those new to the workforce or early on in their careers. One of the biggest barriers we see candidates putting up against their career trajectories involves wages… “When McDonald’s is offering $14 an hour, why would I accept a warehouse position barely paying $15 an hour?”
Consider this: where do you want to be in five years? Still working at McDonald’s making $15 an hour? What about in ten years? Still at McDonald’s making maybe $16 an hour? If the answer is yes, great! We wish you the best of luck and know you’ll achieve your goals. If the answer is no and you have different dreams for your career, consider this:
Most companies offering a lower starting wage are offering more than just wages, they’re offering a chance for you to learn additional skills that will help you further your career along. Companies tend to prefer to promote from within, so while that lower starting wage doesn’t seem like a lot, there is more to be factored into the equation beyond just wage.
Think of your career path as a process – you can’t get to the top without having solid building blocks at the bottom. Have you heard the conundrum many workers feel they’ve experienced? The one where you can’t get hired without having experience, but you can’t get experience without getting hired. While that’s most definitely true, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to gain the experience required to get that dream job.
In fact, it’s easier than many are willing to admit to get experience. That’s exactly what entry-level jobs are for! One of the hardest parts about getting an entry-level job is being willing to accept it, and put in the work necessary to gain the valuable experience required to move up or forward in your career.
The purpose of an entry-level job is to teach workers the skills, both soft and technical, needed to continue moving their careers forward. In fact, two thirds of entry-level workers receive a raise and/or promotion within a year. Those who show up (on time and early), shut up (observe and learn), and keep up (without complaint) will quickly outpace their competition for advancement opportunities.
There’s a lot to consider when job hunting and deciding whether to apply for or even accept a job, regardless of what stage your career is in. We understand wages are increasing in many areas, and it’s important for companies to offer competitive wages. Having a complete understanding of the entire wage equation will enable you to make the best decision for your career long-term. Don’t be afraid to accept an entry-level position… if you put in the work and learn the skills needed to move forward, you won’t be stuck at entry-level for long and your career will take off in no time.