water being poured into clear container with purple powder on counter top caption 'I basically get paid 22 an hour just to shake drinks and workout my forearms' (l) Starbucks Barista shaking drink caption 'I basically get paid 22 an hour just to shake drinks and workout my forearms' (c) clear container with pink liquid and ice on counter top caption 'I basically get paid 22 an hour just to shake drinks and workout my forearms' (r)


‘I have a bachelor’s degree and I make $16’: Starbucks barista says he makes $22 an hour, sparking debate

‘Get paid $22 an hour just to shake drinks.’


Jack Alban


As of 2021, it was reported Starbucks employed some 138,000 people, a marked decrease from its pre-pandemic numbers. The popular coffee chain has been bolstering its workforce since then to get back to those same figures, but many locations are still suffering a labor shortage, resulting in workers putting in more hours and dealing with increased levels of stress.

Like many other businesses in the food service industry, Starbucks has been upping the average pay of many of its employees who are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, especially since America’s economy has hit a 40-year-high inflation rate.

Some baristas who work for the coffee chain spoke positively about the amount of money they’re receiving. TikToker Kevin (@boikevin) is one such worker.

In a viral video, Kevin prepares a Starbucks beverage with a text overlay that discloses his pay, which started a larger conversation in the comments section about individual salaries folks receive at the chain.

@boikev #fyp #starbucks ♬ hot males use this sound – culteies

Kevin wrote in a text overlay on the 11-second TikTok: “I basically get paid $22 an hour just to shake drinks and work out my forearms.”

There were many TikTokers who couldn’t believe that Kevin was making that much, listing their own hourly rate for comparison. Other comments said that even with four-year college degrees, they weren’t earning as much as Kevin was as a barista.

“A normal barista here,” one said before claiming they make $15.97 per hour.

Another suggested they also get the same pay of “$15 and some change.”

Other rates offered by commenters include $17, $21, $23, $27, and $30.

Kevin told those, who wanted to know how he was able to make $22 an hour, why he was earning a few dollars more per hour than they were: “If you’re a shift you get paid more,” he wrote.

According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for Starbucks employees in America is $14.82, “which is 18% above the national average.”

The chain announced in October of 2021 it would be increasing the average salary of all of its workers to $17 an hour, according to USA Today. The outlet attributed “twin pressures of a union challenge and a labor shortage” for the price merit increases. More recent reports indicate that Starbucks is keeping true to its word, and folks who’ve been with the company for two years or more could be eligible to the same 5% to 10% salary increases other long-term workers received in 2022.

The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks via email and Kevin via TikTok comment.

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