OPINION | A message to students: don’t settle for low-paying jobs

Minimum wage in Utah is low and a lot of students are struggling with it. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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As the amount of available jobs increases every day, the minimum wage unfortunately does not, but students shouldn’t be settling for these low-paying jobs anyway. 

In fact, Utah’s minimum wage for 2023 remains at the $7.25 minimum set by federal government officials back in 2009. If the minimum wage hasn’t increased in over 14 years, it is safe to say it won’t any time soon.

Although raising the minimum wage is a cause of inflation itself, a solution to avoid low pay in a work environment is not to raise the minimum wage. The solution is to find a high-paying job that best fits the needs of an individual, whatever “high pay” may mean to them. 

Luckily, not many jobs in Utah pay as little as $7.25 to begin with, but what should students do when they are still stuck working at the same low-paying job they have had for years?

The answer is simple. Leave that job and look for something better. 

With the cost of living in southern Utah rapidly increasing along with gas prices, groceries and tuition, students can not survive off of minimum wage and other low-paying jobs.

While we patiently wait for minimum wage to increase in Utah, now is the time for students to take action and actively search for a higher-paying job.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard this argument a million times: “I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs on Indeed, but I haven’t heard back from a single one. Finding a job isn’t that easy.” 

It really is that easy. There are places around every corner in St. George with hiring signs right at the storefront. Many of these signs have the starting pay, benefits and contact information displayed to encourage people to work with them.

Sometimes these job employers are so eager to find new employees a full application process is not needed. If students go to a job site and ask a manager if they are hiring, oftentimes they will offer a student an interview on the spot or for the near future. 

Indeed isn’t the only site students can find jobs. Handshake is even easier to use and is specifically created for college students to find the right job for them.

Even Facebook has countless groups designed for people to find work in southern Utah including: 

  • St. George Word of Mouth 
  • St. George NOW HIRING
  • St. George Jobs 
  • Southern Utah Jobs

I’ve been a part of many of these groups since I moved to St. George, and I see job posts each day with pay ranging from $15-$25 an hour. These groups are how I found my current job, and the application process was more than easy. I just had to contact the employer through Facebook to apply.  

Students looking for high-paying jobs do not necessarily need to be more experienced or qualified to work. They just need to have a desire to work in the first place. Of course having hard skills to include on your resume never hurts, but the soft skills are just as important. 

Regardless of experience, students should not settle for low-paying jobs. Instead, they should look for something better that will prepare them for the field of work they want to enter after college.  

“I would suggest having a job that gives you exposure in the world of work to start with,” said Asha Stapley, a career coach at Utah Tech University. “Then move your way into a job that sounds like something you want to start doing in the future.”

The Career Services at Utah Tech can help students find high-paying jobs in a variety of ways including: 

  • Career assessments
  • Job searches
  • Help with Handshake 
  • Resumes and cover letters 
  • Mock interviews  

If you are not happy with your job and the pay, do not settle. There are thousands of jobs available that offer the pay, benefits, flexibility and resources you are looking for; you just have to be willing to look for them. Don’t wait, don’t doubt and don’t settle. Seek for something better because your future is counting on you.