Would You Move to a Position that Pays LESS?
Being out of a job is bad enough, but when it seems like there are no openings out there at all, it can be particularly depressing. If you’re a blue-color worker who feels the job market is whacked, well, you’re not wrong: a report earlier this year by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York revealed a somewhat shocking trend: workers without a bachelor’s degree have seen their salaries drop slightly over the past year … which might explain why they’re switching jobs at the highest rate since the survey was initiated in 2014.
But it doesn’t.
At first it doesn’t seem to make sense: earnings should be going up. The survey–updated every 4 months–shows that less-educated workers are in high demand: almost by default, that should mean employers are being forced to lift wages to attract new talent and keep their employees from being poached by outside rivals. We’re seeing that start to happen for workers with bachelor’s or advanced degrees … why wouldn’t the same hold true for non-degreed workers?
Overall, the labor market is probably about as hot as it can get: the unemployment rate for degreed workers 25 and older has been hovering around 2 percent since last year. Not much room to fall from there.
It’s about time, too. The market has spent nearly a decade trying to recover from the Great Recession. Employers could be excused if they got a little lazy, what with an unending horde of experienced, educated desperate-for-work Americans constantly knocking on their doors. But that has changed, and things are picking up for workers with degrees, including a nearly $6,000 increase in average annual salary.
It’s not happening for non-degreed workers, though: as we mentioned, their average salary has dropped–by nearly $5,000. Which makes their migration more puzzling: they’re obviously not leaving their jobs for more money. It appears that many of them are actually taking a cut in pay.
And it’s not for better benefits, either: another study reports that around 63% of less-educated workers surveyed say they’re satisfied with their benefits. That statistic has remained statistically constant for over a year. So if it’s not cash and it’s not benefits, what are today’s blue-collar workers looking for?
As it turns out, today’s laborers are looking for a better tomorrow–in the form of opportunity to grow with a company.
A recent article on Investopedia.com pointed this out, as well, stating that employees leave jobs where there is no plan for upward progression. If there are no opportunities for advancement, then working harder has no benefit–leading workers to opt for situations with more demanding and more rewarding positions. If that means a cut in pay today in order to get to a better place tomorrow, so be it.
For those still among the unemployed, it is something to consider when looking at a new position. It’s still an “employee’s market” out there, and even larger companies are realizing that the whole “the customer is always right” mantra may be due to be replaced by a more worker-centric concept: “treat your employees right, and THEY will take care of your customers.” There may never be a better time for job-seekers to redouble their efforts.