Over the past few years, throngs of folks started quitting their jobs en masse, sending a slew of businesses scrambling to secure new talent, offering higher salaries and hourly wages as a result of bringing folks in.
While this “Great Resignation” ended up becoming a “Great Regret” for 80% of people who left their jobs for better employment opportunities, a lot of folks managed to net themselves more money as a result of jumping ship.
It doesn’t hurt that many retailers have upped their hourly wages since the pandemic as well. Sure, these rates aren’t keeping up with inflation, but more money for employees is more money for employees.
Unless, you’re part of the crop of workers who aren’t getting more money— i.e. a mainstay at a business who’s watching a new hire get a higher hourly wage than you. This is what a Lowe’s employee and TikToker named Alex (@another_drunken_sailor13) said happened to them in a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 363,000 views as of Sunday.
@another_drunken_sailor13 And you've been there for over a year. 😒 #Work #Lowes #CustomerService #Retail ♬ original sound – Alex
Alex writes in a text overlay of the clip, “When you find out the new hire with zero experience makes two dollars more than you do.”
The video is a variation of a popular video meme format showing a cat giving off a deadpan stare, intoning that Alex isn’t very happy to hear this news, to another feline who appears to avoid its gaze.
There’s no shortage of hot takes and justifications for why companies will pay more money for “young bucks” than the employees they’ve already got on the payroll—but it’s hard to deny it’s a slap in the face of the workers who have more experience and have been loyal to the company for longer than the new person.
The Society for Human Resource Management writes that oftentimes when newly hired workers are given a beefier hourly wage than pre-existing employees, it’s mainly due to the nature of the job market at the time.
If there’s competition among businesses trying to bring in new talent, they may be willing to pay more money in order to do so. “In a hot job market, top candidates have their pick of opportunities and often command ever-higher salaries,” the site states. “So companies in need of talent may end up paying a premium for new hires.”
But why do businesses pay the new hires more, or at the very least, don’t automatically increase the wages of the employees already working there? Well, since they’ve already got their current employees’ salaries set, management may be thinking they don’t need to pay more.
A LinkedIn blog post calls into question this practice, asking why “current talent” doesn’t receive the same financial boost as new hires do, while also providing some insightful statistics about the phenomenon: “A new study by compensation data provider LaborIQ surveyed 20,000 different job titles and found that salaries for new hires are, on average, 7% higher than what current employees earn in similar positions. For in-demand jobs in tech and finance, the pay gap can stretch to as much as 20%.”
Whatever the reason for companies instituting this policy, the LinkedIn post went on to decry the practice, saying, “Call it a loyalty tax or a penalty for staying put, but one thing’s for sure: It can feel like a slap in the face to anyone who’s stuck with an employer through the highs and lows of the past few years. “
The solution, the writer proposes? A “retention raise” that rewards loyalty to employees for sticking with a company through the “highs and lows” of business.
Unfortunately, judging by the comments under Alex’s TikTok, retention raises aren’t exactly par the course in the workplace. One person wrote, “That’s when i start scrolling through indeed on the clock.”
Someone else remarked that this type of behavior seems to be common for Lowe’s, writing, “Literally happened when I worked at Lowes my trainer made $3 less than me.”
Another talked about a very real raise-seeking tactic folks implement in their quest for securing larger paydays—job hopping. “If u ever want a raise 90 percent of the time it’s new job time,” they said.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Lowe’s via email and Alex via TikTok comment.