With the recent public outrage, many states are already passing legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which is what is perceived as a “living wage”. Unfortunately, providing this “living wage” would cause the prices of our everyday goods and services to shoot upwards, resulting in much lower buying power for the general public. The result is a domino effect, whereby the “living wage” follows the prices, hiking up more and more as it becomes prohibitively expensive to afford even the most basic of necessities. To counteract this, companies such as McDonald’s are slowly but surely transitioning to automated systems, removing the need to hire costly employees. Even fast-food chains are now starting to require a college degree, as more money means higher qualifications. The end result, rather than a world where low income workers can afford a living, is actually a job market that disqualifies these workers’ survival altogether instead.
There is, however, a glimmer of hope for them in private contracting. Because contractors make a portion of profit rather than an hourly wage, companies that choose to hire in contract form rather than on payroll can lose the risk of hiring exorbitantly expensive, complacent employees. Commission structures may not be as stable, but they give workers the drive they need to make a living. This way, the company and the worker are truly on the same team, as the company only makes money when the worker does, and vice versa. With emerging companies such as Uber and Lyft for taxi services, and MobileWash for mobile detailing, it calls into question just how many more of these companies will surface in different fields as the job market becomes more and more payroll unfriendly.