Although students this year can work fewer hours and make the same amount of money, a substantial pay raise has encouraged students to work more hours this fall.
This September, Yale increased student wages in all departments other than the dining halls, in order to fill more student jobs. Since the wage increase, the number of hours worked by students has significantly increased in every major area except the dining halls.
“Aggregate numbers have gone up quite a bit,” said Charles Paul, director of total compensation. “I think the program’s working.”
Paul said one motivation for the wage increase was to fill more student jobs. He said it is difficult to tell whether listing jobs online may also have played a role in the rise in the number of hours students are working, but he thinks the wage increase is a major factor.
The number of hours worked by students increased from last year by 10 percent, based on data for five weeks in October and November. The number of hours students worked in the libraries, for example, has increased by 22 percent.
In the dining halls, however, students have worked 24 percent fewer hours than last year.
“Dining halls used to have a real advantage paying more than other departments,” Paul said. “Dining hall work and union dues make that a little less attractive [than other jobs]. We could not adjust dining hall rates because they’re under union contract [that expires in January 2002]. Whenever the contract is settled, there will be some kind of change.”
Eric Uscinski, director of human resources for dining services, said he does not think the wage increase is the reason behind the decrease in hours.
“The lack of student workers is not something that just happened in last few months, it’s something that’s been a steady decline in the last five years — not just in the dining halls, but in other departments,” Uscinski said.
Paul said he did not think the current slump of the economy had an effect on student employment, and if so it would be difficult to determine that just from the data.
Students reacted positively to the wage increase.
Valerie Barbon ’05, who works in Cross Campus Library, said she intended to work when she came to Yale this year but the wage increase has enabled her to work fewer hours for the same amount of money. She also said the higher salary influenced where she decided to work.
“The wage increase did have a definite effect on my getting a job on campus as opposed to off campus,” Barbon said.
Samira Nazem ’04 said she is working more this year than she did last year partly because of the wage raise and partly because she needs money.
“The pay raise does make it seem a little more worthwhile because you’re sacrificing time you could be spending on extracurriculars or academics,” Nazem said.
Jessica Linicus, human resource coordinator for the libraries, said she thinks the wage increase has helped fill positions more quickly.
“I think it’s helped — I don’t know, it’s hard to tell how much had to do with recruiting and how much had to do with the wages, but there definitely are a lot of students available,” Linicus said. “Last year there were a lot of unfilled positions. [Now] we’re completely full.”
Paul said Human Resources reevaluates the wage rate every year and usually makes adjustments based on inflation and the labor market.
Diane Williams, supervisor of student employment, said Yale also raised wages “to be competitive with other Ivies.”