Begging and Scraping for Jobs

Employers want you to think that they have all the power. That no matter how overworked and underpaid you are, that simply having a job is something that you should be grateful for. That they are being immeasurably generous in employing you.

For many years after the 2008 financial crisis, this was true. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country lost 2.8 million jobs that year. At the job market’s lowest peak, the US was down by 8.8 million jobs since its pre-recession high. Everybody was hurting, and that included a large amount of Millennials. At the height of the recession, unemployment was up to 10%. Those that graduated 2007-2014 bore the brunt of a shrunken job market. It was rough. It was ugly. Competition was high across the board and employers had the option of being picky. They chose the best candidates at the lowest compensation packages, and they got away with it. The Millennial unemployment rate was more than double that of the national average (although to be fair, it included students not yet working full time) and more were staying with their parents.

We looked back at generation X, who were able to buy cars and houses, and even raise families right out of college. We could hardly pay back our own student loans. So it was no wonder that when faced with searching for a professional job, many of us doing so for the first time, we took the low ball offers.

But that was then, and the current situation has vastly changed. What employers don’t want you to know is that in the past few years, the job market has more or less recovered. Wage growth is finally inching upwards and full time jobs are now flooding the market.

Talk to anybody with in HR and they’ll tell you that the ball is squarely back in the employee’s hands. According to MRI Network90 percent of recruiters believe that recruiting was driven by the candidate. A survey of small business owners found that 47 percent of employers are having difficulty finding the right candidate.

Sure, job openings still get flooded by applications and HR still have plenty of candidates to choose from. However, employers can no longer low ball skilled workers as they used to. The revitalized job market has led to a shift in tactics for HR: instead of waiting for good workers to come to them, they now have to actively entice talent. This means scouting on LinkedIn and other social media. It means offering incentives and greater compensation. It means that finally, instead of them acting like the benevolent lord of some cubicle-bound feudal system, employers are trying to sell themselves to you.

And that means you have the power.

As you go in for interviews, negotiate salaries and start your first day, remember this fact. HR is working overtime to retain talent because they know that if treated poorly, skilled workers will leave. Of course, this doesn’t mean that employers won’t still act like thundercunts, or that HR won’t be staffed by a bunch of self righteous baboons. That’s not to say that entry-level employees aren’t still treated as disposable, or that losing your job could mean you can’t pay rent. All those things still can be true and employers will still act like they have all the power. However, know that you as an employee also have leverage. It takes a lot of money to train a new employee, not to mention the time spent on searching for a replacement. It takes an average of $4,000 and 52 days to fill a job!

So rest assured, recruiters want to fill a job almost as badly as job hunters want to land one.