EMTs, Caregivers, Teachers: Redditors Debate What Jobs Deserve More Pay

The worldwide economy has been volatile in the era of COVID-19, making many in the working class think twice about their present careers and salaries.

A Reddit thread in the "Ask Reddit" forum asks the simple question: "What job deserves to have higher pay?" Results were across the board, but included many career fields that often tend to show up on such lists, including teachers and caregivers.

One user said they worked a brief stint as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home and looked after 12 patients, who all needed baths, help getting dressed, and needed transportation to activities. The user also had to clean out multiple adult diapers throughout the day.

"God forbid you needed extra towels because one of your patients had a blowout," the user said. "The average pay for CNAs near me has gone up, but honestly not by enough."

The conversation about salaries and wages has adjusted in the post-pandemic world, especially online in certain arenas. iStock/Getty Images

It's not just American workers or caregivers who aren't being paid what they're really worth, either. One Redditor said they live in the United Kingdom and work as a caregiver, making less money than a 16-year-old working at McDonald's.

"I watch people die, help people at their lowest moments, help them when they're covered in feces crying; I'm the person they come to when they can't remember their husband/wife, daughter, son, brother, sister," the user said. "I'm the person that comforts them when they know that death [will] inevitably come for them. I'm there on their birthday with a present and a card whilst their entire family can't be bothered to come for one day and I have to pick up the pieces of their heart shattering into a million pieces."

Another healthcare-related job as an EMT also drew a flurry of responses, including one user saying they make $12.50 per hour, while another 20-year paramedic said they make $18 per hour. A New Zealander chimed in, saying paramedics make between $90,000 and $110,000 while EMTs make about $60,000 annually, which is still $20,000 more than the average salary of a first responder.

A user said EMT wages are "insulting" considering that fast food restaurants and gas stations have large signs in front of their businesses advertising for jobs that pay between $15 and $18 per hour.

"Dude is literally saving people's lives and makes less than some guy sweeping a McDonald's parking lot," the user said. "To be clear I don't think McDonald's people shouldn't make $15. It's a hard job with high stress. But an EMT or something should not be making $3 less than a guy at McDonald's. Everyone needs a raise."

Jobs that entail physical labor were also widely mentioned—such as farmers.

"I lived in an expensive metro and was driving 45 minutes out to another county to make 12/hr," a user said. "Thought it was something I wanted to get into. I was beat physically after every shift. My boss went off on me one day and I didn't come back."

Another user said that's just the nature of farming in general, saying, "It's hard work, but no farmers no food! (Or booze, or clothing, or medicine). Farms can only pay based what customers are willing to pay."

A commercial roofer, who operates as a journeyman, touted his colleagues who risk their bodies in a grueling career field.

"As a journeyman, my wage is not bad, but all my colleagues should be compensated for their bodily sacrifice," he said. "Why pay someone less money for a job no one wants to do and has a shorter span because of the demanding nature of it? You'd think you'd want to pay people more and keep them."

And, of course, you have the "thankless" jobs of teachers, as one user noted. One Redditor said the problem isn't just their salaries, but also those of their assistants.

"I will go a step further and say we need to create a secondary profession for dedicated teacher assistants to help offset the workload of teachers," they said. "I feel like schools would be so much better if teachers had assistants to help with grading, planning, and yes, even teaching."

Some employees who go "above and beyond" still don't feel they ever get the props they deserve. Last year, a Redditor posted in the "anti-work" subreddit about working tirelessly all year only to receive a 1 percent raise, a plaque, and a pat on the back from their boss.

Some career fields, however, have adjusted to the so-called "Great Resignation." As some 759,000 retail employees, or nearly 5 percent of the field's employees, quit their jobs in a single month at the end of last year, some companies are doing its due diligence to keep employees around by paying them more.

Target CEO Brian Cornell recently stated to the Associated Press, "The market has changed. We want to continue to have an industry-leading position." The company has recently announced plans to pay upwards of $24 per hour to some hires in certain American markets.

It doesn't mean such changes are universal. As mentioned in Forbes, the human resources consulting firm Mercer surveyed over 300 U.S. employers in March, finding that 45 percent of them did not factor record-high inflation into salaries—even as 77 percent of employers said pay dissatisfaction or competitive offers at opposing companies threatened turnover numbers.

If all else fails, one Redditor said there's money in bread: "My buddy makes 16 an hour making bagels."