We recently bumped the starting pay for the pick & pack job in our warehouse from $14/hr to $15/hr (for reference, the New York State minimum wage is currently at $12.50, and the Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25).
Like many small businesses right now, we’re finding hiring a challenge. It’s a bizarre job market for a variety of reasons, and making this change has already helped us land a quality employee.
But it’s also more than that. $15 is something that I think we all feel good about. It’s a number that’s in the news a lot right now, and with good reason. It’s a good starting point for a job like ours that’s as entry level as it gets – no degree, certifications, special skills, or experience is required – but also has growth potential.
We tend to give out raises and added responsibility quickly. The majority of our current office and management staff started out at that job and then grew into new positions over time. We’ve always focused a lot on those aspects of the job, along with the culture, benefits, etc. When we find good people, they tend to stay, and this should help us find more good people faster.
For the first decade of our business the NYS minimum wage was in the $7-9 range, and we were starting in the $10-12 range, so there is a bit of a mindset change that we have to go through as owners. For a long time $15 meant something different to us.
I should note that when we make a change like this we also review the entire current staff’s pay and adjust accordingly. Not just recent hires who were under or around $15, but also many other employees. We take a step back to ensure that everyone is in a good spot relative to everyone else when you factor in their seniority and skills. I’m not sure if other companies do this. I would guess that most don’t. It is no doubt expensive and time consuming, but it’s also the right thing to do.