Employment: Swapping jobs to land a pay raise
Americans are quitting their jobs again, “and that’s a good thing,” said Jeffry Bartash in MarketWatch.com. With the economy surging and companies hiring rapidly to keep up with demand, workers feel increasingly emboldened to switch jobs. The percentage of people in the private sector who left their job by choice in May hit 2.7 percent in May, the highest level since 2001. Roughly 3.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April, according to the Labor Department—twice the number of workers who were laid off. “The decision to quit and look for better-paying or more satisfying employment can be rewarding,” said Kate Gibson in CBSNews.com. With wages stagnant—adjusting for inflation, average hourly pay has remained flat for the past year—job-hopping is often the easiest way to land a decent raise. On average, job-switchers received 30 percent larger annual pay increases in May than those who had remained in the same gig over the past 12 months.
Business owners and managers who have seen employees walk away have only themselves to blame, said Josh Barro in BusinessInsider.com. “Not enough of the benefits of economic growth have been accruing to workers.” For too long, corporate profits have been increasingly paid out to shareholders, rather than reinvested in employees. This reluctance to boost pay is partly a hangover from the Great Recession: “Employers know if they raise wages now, it will be very hard to cut them if the economy goes south.” And many businesses “are still trying to find any way to hire workers in a hot market without paying more.” Some are lobbying the government to issue more guest-worker visas, because the migrants who receive them work for less than Americans. But the labor shortage is unlikely to end anytime soon. So owners must either endure the headaches caused by the so-called labor crisis and rise of job-swapping, or “pull the trigger on serious wage hikes” to attract and retain the best talent.
Are you considering switching jobs? asked Sue Shellenbarger in The Wall Street Journal. “Looking for a new job discreetly, without damaging your standing at your current employer, requires some savvy.” Make sure that you switch off notifications to your LinkedIn network, so that your boss—with whom you may be connected on the site—won’t see you connect to a recruiter. Don’t post your resume on job sites, and avoid using your employer’s phone, email, and computer as you conduct your job hunt, because some managers “keep tabs on those activities.” Be discreet when you take time off for an interview with a prospective new employer, and don’t make “attention-grabbing excuses” to explain your absence. It’s important to also “plan what to say if your boss asks if you’re looking.” This will help you avoid being “drawn into a conversation about quitting before you’re ready.” ■