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Starbucks baristas can now make more than $20 an hour in Canada

You know times are tough on the labour market when not even Starbucks — defacto employer of aspiring actors and musicians who've long promised their parents to one day get 'real jobs' — can hire enough staff to suit their needs.

But that's where we are in this post-lockdown world, for myriad different reasons, and the days of side-hustling baristas are fading fast as Starbucks jobs become more 'real' than most gigs available to university-educated arts graduates these days.

In an effort to address what it calls "critical staffing shortages," the Canadian arm of the Seattle-born coffee chain is now leaning even further into its reputation as a solid employer by boosting wages and benefits for all of its retail staffers (or as they call them, "partners.")

Starting this January, Starbucks Canada will boost wages for those entering the company to one dollar above minimum wage in each respective province.

Anyone hired on or before Jan. 3 of 2021 will receive a six to ten per cent wage increase, regardless of their position, though their hourly rates will vary based on where they live and how long they've been with the company.

"These investments represent a 11 per cent increase in incremental annual wages and benefits for retail hourly partners in the last 12 months," wrote Starbucks in a release announcing what it calls "historic investments in its partners."

Hourly rates for baristas will now range from $13 all the way up to $20.45, while shift supervisors stand to make between $15.85 and $24.95 per hour.

The company is also investing into better technology for workers to use in their retail stores, as well as enhanced training. Starbucks says its current barista training program has been revamped and that it will give future staff more time to practice and learn the craft of concocting coffee-based drinks.

While Sbux has long been known as an innovator in the benefits space (employees who work at least 20 hours a week get free health, dental, stock grants, RRSP matching and even tuition reimbursements), they're adding another perk on top of what is probably the most-comprehensive package offered to hourly retail workers anywhere:

As of January, every hourly partner in Canada will be given three fully paid shifts per year to be used "to be used to cover sick days or circumstances that require family care."

Will all of this be enough to fill the massive company's Canadian worker shortage? Fans of the brand had better hope so, because we can't afford to lose any more of our beloved downtown Toronto Starbucks locations.

Lead photo by

Starbucks Canada

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