Cost of living has nothing to do with wage?

2018-03-13 17:11:32

I have a friend who's received an offer for $17/hour as a co-op in NY. My friend is a masters student in Computer Engineering doing advanced AI and machine learning.

I'm trying to figure out if this guy responding to her is out of his mind. Cause I scuffed at his responses.

In my experience undergrad students (2 years in) in software engineering get averages of $20 per hour in the area I live.

So I told my friend to ask for a higher salary, as they do have expenses and the nature of the work is more technical than a simple web dev job.

My friend sent an email to the hiring manager and the co-op office official. Asking for $22/hour and looking forward to the next meeting.

The co-op office official replied all to the email.

They said something like:

I understand your desire for a higher rate however the rate offered is comparable to what other co-ops get paid and cost of living has nothing to do with rate. I leave it to the hiring manager to decide.

In a follow

  • It doesn't matter what we think, it matters what the employers "think". And the beauty of a free market is that if your friend disagrees with what he's being paid he can simply look for new employment.

    You're not going to make these people change their minds. They have some policy in place which pegs co-ops - regardless of competence, or field of study - at that wage, and I'm sure it suits them just fine. Why would they hand out more when people seem perfectly willing to work for $17/hr?

    The ball is in your friend's court, and the only reasonable thing to do if he can't afford to live off of his wage is take his expertise elsewhere.

    Edit #1: International Student Situation

    You've now added the details of your friend being an international student, as well as having his wages paid though the university.

    It sounds to me like your friend is stuck until he graduates 2 months from now, so it's rather too late to tackle this problem (although there is a small chance if getting some

    2018-03-13 17:19:55
  • This is the message you (and your friend) need to burn into your psyche:

    You are worth what the market will pay.

    An employer (someone with cash in their pockets) has three choices. At the end of the day, do they want:

    The cash in their pocket.

    The work visc's friend will do for the cash in their pocket.

    The work someone else will do for the cash in their pocket.

    Those are the choices they have and the choices they make every day. Your friend's job is to make the second choice the most attractive choice.

    If your skills aren't distinguished (recent grad), then you have to work for a little less cash, or be some other employer's "someone else" (3rd choice).

    When your skills become distinguished (specialized knowledge, high productivity, leadership, etc.), then that second choice starts to look more and more attractive to employers, and you can ask for a little more of that cash.

    NOWHERE in that list of variables employers consider are your (your friend's) personal expenses.

    2018-03-13 17:29:46
  • Your economics are false.

    Fill a job is simple supply and demand.

    A person that wants to live in a big city might be willing to work for less than living in a rural area. Yes it will be harder to make ends meet but cost of living does not directly affect salary demand.

    I might be willing to take a low rate to work at a ski resort with high rent.

    I might not be willing to live in rural North Dakota for any amount.

    Houston has a fairly low cost of living for a big city yet many jobs still pay more than San Francisco.

    Where cost of living may more fairly come into play is a transfer to a higher cost of living. You did not chose the city. But if you tried to lower salary based on move to a lower cost of living they would scream like banchies. I worked for a company that would give a one time bonus for transfer to certain locations.

    2018-03-13 17:36:14
  • An employer sets the compensation for a job at what they think they must to attract and retain someone to do the work the employer wants done. Generally speaking the employer 'does not care' what a given individual's cost of living is.

    It's for the individual applicant or worker to decide whether the offer is satisfactory - they might base that decision on their cost of living. They then decide whether to apply or negotiate.

    2018-03-13 17:44:37
  • If the people doing the hiring want to base your salary on what they think you need, then it may be a good approach to show your expenses to justify a raise. Not that no one hiring ever considers this, but it is really far down the line in priority for figuring out salaries.

    It's usually some balance between what the market is for this candidate's qualifications, how this position contributes to the a company's income, and the amount of risk they want to take by paying more or less.

    Some candidates ask for more or less depending on their understanding of all of these variables along with their level of desperation. Sorry, but if a couple of candidates have the same level of expertise as you do and are willing to work for half the salary, you may not get the job/raise no matter what.

    Generally, I suggest demonstrating how you are much better than the other candidates and demanding what you can get on the open market.

    2018-03-13 18:00:30
  • There are two ideas being conflated here. One is the rate your friend should be able to get as a highly skilled student about to graduate. I agree, $17/hr for someone with decent ML or AI skills seems low. I think you are correct on that.

    However, that matters not. Your friend's financial picture certainly does not matter to an employer. UNLESS your friend is in very high demand and is being actively recruited. But it seems that is not the case here.

    Separate the two ideas. The rate and your friend's needs are not connected. Period. It is very unlikely they ever will be at this point with this hiring organization. That is the reality of the situation.

    It seems like this question was asked to argue a dogmatic point and not to seek information on the situation. You are making broad, sweeping generalisations about complex, nuanced topics that people study for decades and still don't fully understand.

    At the end of the day, if it really bothers you, it's like any programm

    2018-03-13 18:08:23