Restaurant pay still lags despite May wage spike, study finds

Though wages for several restaurant positions went up this month, the industry still accounts for five of the nation’s 10 lowest-paying jobs, according to Glassdoor.
Pixabay nattanan23

Despite a sharp upswing this month in the prevailing wages for several restaurant positions, the industry still accounts for five of the nation’s 10 lowest-paying jobs, according to Glassdoor, the job-listing website and research company.

Wages paid during May topped year-ago levels by an average of 1.3% across all industries, the biggest jump so far this year, according to Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain. Yet the prevailing rate for cashiers jumped by three times as much, or 3.9%, Chamberlain found.

Baristas’ average pay rose 3.4%, while restaurant cooks saw a 1.5% bump in their checks. Servers’ take increased by the national average.

Yet the absolute numbers painted a different story. Barista positions are the lowest-paying of the various jobs tracked by Glassdoor, according to Chamberlain’s research, with a median base pay of $24,493 annually.

Despite the upswing in cashiers’ compensation, they still hold the second-lowest-paying post on Glassdoor’s roster, at $28,042, or about $680 less than restaurant cooks earned.

Rounding out the low-ranking finishes for restaurant jobs were bartending, ranked ninth from the bottom with a median pay rate of $31,860 for May, and waiting tables, tenth from the bottom of the list with a median income of $33,355.

Glassdoor noted that wages for bartenders ebbed slightly during the month, with a 0.6% erosion.

Restaurateurs and other employers can expect to continue paying more for labor, regardless of where the positions they intend to fill may rank in pay, said Chamberlain.

“Although wage growth is still slow historically, the continued upward trend in pay we’re seeing nearly halfway through 2018 is a strong sign that average wages will continue to climb,” he said in a statement. “We’re also seeing solid wage growth in traditionally lower-paying roles—from cashier to material handler to security officer—a sign that today’s strong labor market may be starting to improve pay across the income spectrum.”

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