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Do you have scintillating dreams of becoming a coffee master and knowing everything there is to know about coffee and its different varieties, qualities, roasts and brewing techniques? Or do you simply need a part-time job to cover your tuition and rent? Either way, you could join the growing number of people who are seeking Starbucks employment.
A ‘barista’ is the term given to a Starbucks employee, that friendly, black-apron clad person who greets you, takes your order from behind the counter, and provides you with your quick caffeine fix for the day. As part of the Starbucks employment contract, baristas must undergo intense training prior to being able to begin working on the backline. They are educated on aspects of coffee brewing and serving as well as growing and roasting coffee in the expectations of being able to answer any of the customers’ questions.
Voted the #2 best company to work for by Fortune magazine in 2005, Starbucks has earned a reputation as a company that not only strives for excellent customer service, but one that also provides generous employment benefits. As a part-time barista working for Starbucks, both you and your same or opposite sex partner receive comprehensive health benefits, covering everything from medical, prescriptions, dental, and vision to hypnotherapy and naturopathy. The company also offers retirement savings plans, discounted stock options, income protection plans, adoption assistance plans, management bonus plans and support resources for child and elder care. Then, there is also the discounted Starbucks merchandise, the free pound of coffee or tea each week and all the drinks you can down during your shift.
But, along with the Starbucks employment benefits come also the disadvantages of Starbucks employment; many baristas quickly discover that the job requires much more than the romanticized idea of simply brewing a hot pot of coffee and pouring it into cups. Instead, working behind a Starbucks counter can be a high-stress job, involving more public relations skills than anything else. The environment is fast-paced and customers, typically caffeine-deprived, have little patience for waiting or for mistakes made. The quality of Starbucks employment has also been called into question by Starbucks Baristas Unions around the world, which protest primarily the company’s low wages and the fact that its workers’ hours are not guaranteed.
But, Starbucks shows no signs of suffering from these complaints. In 2005, there was a reported 26% Starbucks employment growth rate with over 3,000 new jobs being created. One and a half million people applied to work at the company that same year. Despite the demanding nature of the job, increasing numbers of applicants are seeking Starbucks employment, and they’re liking it; a recent Starbucks employment survey found an 82% job satisfaction rate among its workers, compared to a 74% average for the Best Companies to Work For list. Starbucks also maintains one of the lowest worker turnover rates in its industry and can pride itself on having an extremely diverse workforce. Overall, for the almost 100,000 members of the Starbucks family, life seems to be as sweet as the coffee they pour.
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