The End of Minimum Wage Jobs

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Here in California, the unions and government officials are crowing over the adoption of a $15 minimum wage, hailing it as a victory for average workers.

As most fast food chain franchise owners will relate, such jobs were never designed for supporting a family. These are entry level posts for teens and college kids to learn the basics of the workplace. Most are expected to move onward and upwards to more responsible situations and a real career. However, the narrative has been altered to assume that a head of household can work a burger joint and should make a wage high enough to support more than one person.

The aberration seemed to have put small business owners on the ropes, forcing them to ante up to keep their establishments staffed. And the unions and governments would be happy because they rake in more union dues and taxes.

What they forgot in the equation, was American ingenuity. When you shop or bank, increasingly there are less clerks and more automated machines doing the jobs humans used to hold. It was only a matter of time and necessity that would craft new technologies to step beyond mere money transactions and create a fully automated McDonalds. That time is now.

A former McDonald’s CEO is warning that robots will take over jobs at the huge enterprise – because it’s cheaper than employing humans. He said that buying highly skilled robotics is cheaper than employing people at the fast food restaurant. Franchise owners will be lining up. The forecast comes as he warns huge job losses are imminent, and that it’s ‘common sense’ to replace humans in the workplace.

Ed Rensi said: “I was at the National Restaurant Show and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry, it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient and making $15 an hour bagging French fries. A $15 an hour minimum wage is nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe.”

“It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster.”

Previous studies into the future of human employment has predicted a surge in machine-led work such as robotic counsellors, body part makers and virtual lawyers.

The research, by professor of management practice at London Business School, Lynda Gratton, and futurologist David A. Smith, suggests that humans will be replaced because robots are able to produce better results. Prof Gratton said: “Studies have suggested that a third of jobs in Europe will be replaced by technology over the next two decades.

Is there a solution? Yes. As middle-skilled roles disappear, workers may find that the ‘rung’ above them no longer exists, and that the career ladder may begin to look more like a career web. The ultimate implication is that workers cannot now expect to gain seniority by moving ‘up’, but rather moving sideways by gaining additional complex skills.

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