Why Returning to Work Now Will Put You Ahead of the Job Market

November 17th, 2021

In the spring of 2020, life got a little hectic. If you’re like countless working people across the country, your once safe and reliable job suddenly didn’t feel as safe or reliable. Maybe you were laid off from your role in the hospitality industry, or maybe your employer couldn’t or wouldn’t accommodate your request to complete your office work from home. No matter how you ended up here, you’re not working full time at the moment, and since you aren’t ready to fully retire, you know you’re likely to return to work at some point. You just don’t know exactly when or what your next job will entail. You could keep doing what you’re doing—testing the wind and waiting for the world and the economy to stabilize a bit. Or you could jump back into the workforce now, without waiting, and take advantage of the opportunities that exist now but won’t be around for long. Here are a few reasons to make the second choice.

Get ahead of the mad crowds.

Right now, workers, in general, are reevaluating their relationship with employers and re-examining what their work and careers mean to them, in the broadest sense. Many have money saved up and aren’t scrambling to survive, and many others are recognizing that they’ve spent years working for employers who haven’t respected or compensated them adequately, and they aren’t wild about reconnecting before that power balance is reset. You could call it the Big Pause—a period in which many people are waiting to see the market value of their skills and time increase before they start submitting resumes. But during this quiet moment, employers are getting antsy. They have roles to fill, and if you move now, your application may be one of only a few. You’ll get the job…if you want it.

When you’re the only one in line, you set the terms.

Being the top—or only—applicant for a job doesn’t just mean you’ll get an offer. It also means you can follow up on that offer by negotiating a higher salary, and it may also mean that you’ll have more control over the terms of the job itself. If there’s one part of the role you don’t like—such as cleaning the grease traps at the end of the day, taking meeting notes, on-call Saturdays, or engaging with confrontational customers—this Big Pause offers an opportunity to simply make that part of the job go away. A few years ago, it seemed impossible to simply tell an employer “I’ll do anything…except that”. But now you can, and you should.

There’s no harm in asking.

Maybe this company is opening a branch office in Hawaii, and you’d like to be assigned there. Maybe the company has the ability to create a new role that resembles your dream job. Maybe there’s a narrow path that could take you to the management level in a year. Maybe you want to bring your dog to work with you. Whatever you want, when you’re the only one in line, you have nothing to lose by asking. Now is the time.

For more on how to navigate the challenges of the job search, in this era or any era, contact the staffing experts at PSU.

How to Hire and Discuss Salary Amid Rising Pay Rates

November 3rd, 2021

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic swept into our lives in the spring of 2020, the future of work has become a clouded crystal ball. Neither employees, nor employers, nor job seekers know for sure what opportunities or obstacles lie around the bend. This means the salary negotiation process now feels like more of a gamble than a strategy. But there are still ways to improve your odds of coming out ahead in the long run. Start by keeping these basic principles in mind.

Stay on your feet and test the wind.

It may seem exhausting to constantly watch the news and dial into trends and cultural currents…but nobody promised that running a business or hiring staff would be easy. Keep in mind that when you tune in, you’re watching the same news and trends that your employees and job seekers are also watching. Nobody knows more than anyone else. We’re all subject to the same rises and falls in virus numbers and the same rises in falls in average market rates for various salaries (as well as the costs of services and consumer goods). So pay attention. If you’re ready to offer a position in sales, marketing, or production, don’t base your offer on last week’s average. Look at what’s happening now.

Watch the talent market, too.

An employee with a specific set of skills may have been worth 20 dollars per hour two years ago, and 40 per hour now. A smart employee will stay closely in tune with the changing market value of her skills and time, and you should too. In addition, you’ll want to keep track of fluctuating job-seeker demand for that role. Two years ago, employees may have lined up for a sweet gig like the one you’re offering, and now it’s possible the tables have turned, interest has soured a bit, and you’ll be lucky to receive a single resume. The opposite may also be true; every year, some jobs once deemed essential are replaced by apps, automation, or vanishing customer demand. Several things can influence job demand aside from salary: Is the role prestigious? Can it open career doors? Can it be done from a flexible location or on a flexible schedule? Measure what you have to offer against the value of what your applicant brings to the table, and know the monetary price of both.

Negotiate beyond salary.

In 2021, employees want to talk about salary, for sure, but that’s not all they want to talk about. The value of healthcare benefits, flexible scheduling, remote work, PTO, and childcare options have soared into the foreground. Where you could once lure and retain employees with indoor ping pong tables and pizza Fridays, now you’ll need to offer accommodations that allow talented workers to apply their skills while also balancing their lives and taking care of their physical and mental health. And even after you’ve brought them on board, you’ll need to keep checking in to make sure that whatever you offer is on par or a step ahead of what’s being held out by your competitors. Again, staying agile and attentive isn’t easy, but it’s the best way to hold onto talented and growing employees who are drawn away by other opportunities.

For more on how to dial in and make the most of the talent available to you, talk to the staffing pros at PSU.

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