“No one wants to work anymore” is the common refrain of established business owners who can’t seem to fill essential positions in their companies.
These owners, who typically identify with the baby boomer generation, put out flyers, list positions on all the big career websites, take out classified ads, and hang hiring signs on their doors but can’t seem to attract any applicants.
Employers complain that they must work long hours to cover the gaps and wonder why they can’t find people to work for them.
“No one wants to work anymore,” they lament, as they offer minimum wage for part-time work and a constantly changing schedule.
The Truth Behind “No One Wants To Work Anymore”
It’s not that people don’t want to work. People don’t want to work for abysmal wages that don’t provide them enough to live. They don’t want to work jobs that destroy their bodies or social lives.
Younger generations want work that works for them. They crave meaning in their work but will put that aside for a high enough paycheck. They refuse to work menial jobs that don’t pay a living wage.
Example Showcasing Why No One Wants to Work Anymore
A user of the popular r/lostgeneration community on Reddit shared precisely why they turned down a job.
The Original Poster (OP) said they went into a pizza shop with a now-hiring sign on the door and inquired about the position. According to OP, the owner “Lit right up and said he was the owner, had been working alone since he bought the place 30 days ago. Said he was eager to hire and gave me an application.”
After filling out the application and showcasing their ten years of pizza experience, OP was offered a job on the spot but was dismayed to learn the owner only offered minimum wage.
OP didn’t take the job.
Why Younger Generations Don’t Want To Work
The post resonated with a lot of users. Many gave stories and examples of why they no longer want to work, and it’s not sheer laziness.
Minimum Wage is a Joke
Far too many employers want to start new workers at minimum wage, which many Redditors consider an awful joke.
One user said they made $15 an hour thirty years ago, which, back then, was enough to care for a small family. They then pointed out that their state’s partly $7.25 per hour minimum wage falls far below a living wage. “I couldn’t survive now on 15 an hour,” they said, asking how anyone could survive off half that amount.
“It’s basically just a scam if you are being paid $7 an hour in 2023,” stated another. “You are being scammed out of your time, energy, and soul.”
Living Wage is Typically Far Higher than Offered Wages
States with higher minimum wages typically have higher living costs, and even the higher salaries aren’t enough for workers who need money to live.
“Our current minimum wage is $15, which is not enough to survive here,” shared one user. They mentioned a recent report showcasing that a living wage in their city was around $22 per hour and said, “none of the business here would offer that because most owners are cheap. Yet, they complain when no one wants to work for them.”
When “Entry Level” Requires Experience
Many users lamented business owners who refuse to pay extra for required experience, training, education, or credentials. They pointed to companies that list every job as entry-level despite the massive education or experience required.
“If the job opening requires a degree, a technical certificate, or more than one year of experience, it’s not “entry-level” by any definition of the phrase, nor should it pay minimum wage,” stated one Redditor.
Companies attempt to nickel and dime employees, paying them as little as they can possibly get away with despite their expertise, then wonder why no one wants to work.
Younger generations are starting to recognize their worth and refusing to accept less.
No One Wants to Work for that Pay
It’s not about not wanting to work. It’s about looking at the job and deciding whether trading your time and labor for the pay offered is worthwhile.
In today’s day and age, many are deciding that it’s not.
“The opportunity cost of working for minimum wage is a net negative for folks stuck doing it,” said one user.
If people can’t afford to live while working 40+ hours a week at a menial job, they’ll choose not to work. They can’t afford life anyway, so what difference does it make if they work or not?
They opt to spend their time pursuing interests and engaging in gig work to make ends meet rather than committing all their time to a job that doesn’t pay enough.
No One Ever Wanted to Work
The whole idea of “No one wants to work anymore” is wrong, to begin with. People work because they have to, not because they want to.
The only people who want to work are those who find a career that aligns with their passions. Scientists, writers, artists, researchers, and doctors do want to work. Their careers give their life meaning.
The rest of us work because it provides a paycheck. We trade time for money to afford to live and do what we want in our free time.
No one is passionate about working the fast food counter, data entry, or factory work. No one wants to do those jobs. But, if they pay well enough, people will compromise. They’ll dedicate time to doing things they don’t enjoy for a higher quality of life and to provide for their families.
Stop Complaining that Nobody Wants to Work and Start Offering Something in Return
If you’ve latched onto the “nobody wants to work anymore” ideology, you may want to look hard at what you’re offering. Is it really that nobody wants to work, or are you not offering enough compensation for the position?
This Reddit thread shows that people do want to work, but they expect fair wages that will allow them to live. If your wages don’t provide that, perhaps you’re the problem, not them.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.