Faces of fast-food workers getting older
Teens are less likely to be your cashier or burger flipper as more experienced Americans scramble for jobs.
NBC News notes that the recession grayed the fast-food workforce a bit, with 42% of restaurant and fast-food employees now over the age of 25. All of those older workers have at least some college education, including 753,000 with a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That's terrible news for American teenagers, who went from 25% of the fast-food workforce a decade ago to just 16% last year. As a result, they're being squeezed out nearly altogether. While the overall U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6% in March, for teenagers 16 through 19, it was 24.2%.
It also means that full-grown adults are now being paid pocket-money wages. Nearly 3 million Americans work in the food-service industry, according to the BLS, with a growing portion of that total working in fast food. That group is now roughly equal to the population of Mississippi.
As restaurants rail against President Barack Obama's health care insurance mandate and insist that his proposal to hike the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 by 2015 would bleed them dry, some chains have realized that their workforce has changed.
In-N-Out Burger, for example, starts its employees at $10 an hour and offers benefits. Starbucks (SBUX) has also been a boon for workers because of its benefits packages. The fast-food industry as a whole, however, is still the worst-paying in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. Workers are typically limited to part-time shifts capped around 24 hours a week and make less than $18,000 a year for their efforts.
The industry doesn't pay more because it doesn't have to be particularly picky. Before the recession, the Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey indicated that 35% of food-service employers considered recruiting and retaining employees a problem. This year, that's down to 5%.
With 284,000 college graduates making minimum wage and those with a high school education or less increasingly jobless, fast-food franchisees can be more judicious with their staffing decisions. The choice is now between inexperienced, flaky, distracted but fresh-faced teens or their parents who've been worn down by years of experience and humbled by the recent downturn.
Today, as I note below, there are companies now that reward workers with time-off if they simply show up for work on time every-day for a month!
As someone who worked fast-food in high school and college from 1967-70 and as a high school chemistry and physics teacher until 2006, it amazed me when my teenaged students would tell me things like: "We had an unusual dinner-time rush last night, took in more than a usual Tuesday, so we closed KFC at 8:30 last night and went home - including the young asst. manager."
My county school system paid me some summers to study local industry, everything from United Airlines at BWI Airport to Restaurants to see how well we were preparing students to meet workforce demands. The biggest disappointment, aside from No Child Left Behind killing needed vo-tech skills like auto mechanic, was a lack of responsibility in young workers. One printing company actually gave workers a half-day off if they simply showed up on-time every day for a month.
This is what happens when you don't pay workers enough and they don't have a pension. The older workers can't afford to retire and they take what used to be the part time jobs of teens and college students.
If they had retired at the appropriate age, they would have given their jobs to the next generation who wouldn't have to take the students' and teens' jobs. Too many workers now putting pressure that allows businesses to pay their workers less and offer less in benefits.
older workers,, they come from not having income as seniors for high medical care, they come from professionals who have been outtrained by the colleges by supplying younger more skilled , from companies who want to over work their employees while they are young, to acheive more production from less employees, from greedy C>E>Os that make 500,000.00 just for showing up while their lower paid ones are let go. They could keep the work force up and have them contribute to their own retirements with what they run rappant on. The teens are being led into drugs, and scrubulus ways to make money and laugh at those wages. we are destoying the young , ruining our businesses, promoting greed and the two level income,, those with and without. Why is it so hard to recognise.. Put God , strict laws and the enforcement behind them . empty the prisons by you know.. elimiating the ones who eliminate us. Allow people to protect their own, with out spending more and more government monies which we pay anyway.
older workers show up , are reliable, dont hang with friends every min, nor are attached to an electonic device. It is so obvious, wake up america... wake up
My daughter is a assistant manager in a fast food restaurant and they hire adults and seniors because most kids they hire can't work this or that day because they want to spend it with their boyfriend, some can't make correct change, can't follow procedure, some give away free food to their friends, rude, report off(usually on Saturdays) etc..These kids usually get fired and they wonder why.
There's a lot more to the story.
But, there are many kids that are hard workers that needs their job to pay for their car, help their family, support their child or save money for college.
2) kids are lazy these days. Around here you never see them in most retail or food jobs, you rarely even see them at the movie theater which was always a prime employer when i was a teen.
Bad hours, pay, 100% standing, always open so no holidays enjoyed, rude customers.
So sad..My son is a high school grad and still cant find a job! College loans out the roof and what are these kids supposed to do?
Did we read the part about the food industry hiring kids for part-time work, so they don't have to pay them benefits? Do we realize that there is an interstate transport of food clause that allows restaurants to pay less than minimum wages because the food is transported across state lines, as if that makes sense to the kid working there, who is trying to save for college?
When will it be clear that our government needs to better regulate wages, and promote worker representation, rather than attacking the unions that do this, which only Democrats do, while corporations have unlimited resources to pay lobbyists and ALEC councils to push for legislation that benefits them, while we see our wages slipping away, never to return.....at the hand of the Republican Party, who has no soul, and is only interested in the Sociopathic need to get hired, after a few terms in government, by those corporations they pushed legislation for, while representing no one except the rich, whom they rub shoulders with!
older people gota work too....anyways, at least you know theyre doing whats right and not just goofing the responsibility of the job theyre employed to do.
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You don't have to sign up for Medicare. The catch? If you don't enroll when you're first eligible, you could pay some serious financial penalties later in life.
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