On-Campus student employees to receive wage raises

Abbey Sullivan

Student employment is an integral part of Chatham’s lively community and campus environment. Those students with on-campus jobs will be receiving wage increases in the coming semesters.

According to Kate Sheridan, Associate Director of Career Development, she is in the process of “administering the final discussion about what that wage increase will be.”

This change is motivated by numerous factors.

Sheridan said wages across student jobs had not increased since she started working in the Career Development office a few years ago.

“I was looking at [Chatham’s] historical documents and saw the pay rate was the same. I did some benchmarking with other schools our size [or peer institutions] and looked at their pay rates, too,” she explained.

Kate Sheridan, Associate Director of Career Development

Additionally, the current national discussion about minimum wage rates further sparked interest in making these changes at Chatham University. According to CNBC, major companies like Amazon raised their minimum wage rates to $15 last year, while Walmart and Target plan to raise theirs to $11 and $15 an hour, respectively.

“Often students are driven by the need to have financial support to support their education, what they need for school, etc.,” Sheridan said. “We realized the wages as they stood weren’t really allowing for that to happen.”

The Career Development office also was prompted to take a look at wages based on responses from a student employment satisfaction survey.

“One of the big pieces of feedback we got was about the pay rates,” Sheridan said. “Students working in the same position hadn’t had the opportunity to receive a pay raise.”

The career development office in the basement of JKM Library.

How jobs are classified also will change, which will determine the details of each student’s wage raise. Before, jobs were grouped into undergrad/graduate levels, but such a system was deemed unfair on account of different individuals’ experience or lack thereof. The jobs will now be categorized as either skill-based or administrative.

“The new pay rates will be attached to those levels,” Sheridan said. “Administrative is entry level and then skill positions require certain skills — things like video or digital media skills — an undergraduate degree in a particular area, etc.”

A wage raise is important to current student employees, including first-year students Hanna Theile and Claire Raines. Theile works as a research assistant in the political science department and in the Carriage House as a desk attendant. Raines is a student ambassador in Admissions.

“I only work events during the school year, but over the summer the office work is super intense,” Raines said. “I feel positively about the wage raise, especially because I am somebody who is representing the school. Not that I wouldn’t do it well anyways, but the wage is a good incentive.”

Those interested in seeking employment on campus are encouraged to check out the career network Web page Handshake.

“Students can go on and search for on-campus jobs in certain offices,” Sheridan said. “We also have the on-campus activities, like the student employment fair, and students can always come to our office to talk through the process.”

Seeking out employment during a student’s time at Chatham comes with a slew of benefits.

“We do a lot of work with employers and grad schools. A lot of them want them to see work experience, either directly related or with transferable elements,” Sheridan said. “Although a job is a different learning environment than learning in a classroom, supervisors take the role of being a mentor very seriously.”

Being a student employee is not only a way to build up your resume but also a chance to contribute to Chatham.

“The work that you’re putting into this school will build it up for the better,” Theile said. “If you want to change Chatham, work at Chatham.”

Raines, in particular, is excited about her position as a student ambassador.

“It helps you make friends, connect to the Chatham community in a different way than just being a student,” she said. “It helps you learn the inner workings of the school in a different way.”

Student employees can expect to receive an email outlining the details of their wage raises soon. Career Development is expected to finalize plans in April.