- About 4 in 10 workers in the U.S. quit a job in the last year, according to a recent survey by Monster.
- Nearly three-quarters of those who quit would consider going back to an old employer for higher pay, better benefits, or improved perks.
- The fierce competition for workers has pushed many employers to be much more accommodating with their new hires.
There are a lot of open jobs right now: U.S. employers created more than 400,000 jobs in March — the 15th month of consecutive job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the country's unemployment rate is also flirting with historic lows at 3.6%.
Put another way, there are now nearly two open jobs for every unemployed person.
Common wisdom says that the excess of jobs is good for workers, particularly for those willing to switch gigs. And it looks like workers have taken notice.
Over 2 in 5 workers, or 41%, quit a job in the last year, according to the most recent survey from career site Monster. Yet nearly three-quarters, 72%, of people who've recently left a job would consider going back to their old employer if they got higher pay, improved benefits, or better perks.
Video by Mariam Abdallah
That makes sense to Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster. "One of the best ways to boost your pay is to get another job," she says. Workers can take advantage of the current moment and negotiate the best benefit packages for themselves.
"Many job seekers right now are getting multiple job offers," Salemi says. Employers know this and have upped their game to woo candidates. Here's her best advice for job seekers who want to seize the moment.
One of the best ways to start any job search is to be clear with yourself what your priorities are, Salemi says. That's even more important now that candidates can ask for so many things in the negotiation process. As a result, staying mentally organized is crucial.
"Create a spreadsheet or jot it down in the notes section on your phone," Salemi says. "Whatever makes sense that you see it on [metaphorical] paper."
That list of priorities can include everything from salary to company culture. Writing them down not only helps you rank them for yourself, but will also let you more easily compare and contrast what different employers offer once you start your job search.
Video by Mariam Abdallah
"If I were to create it, pay or base compensation would be number one," Salemi says, and there are a lot of other very specific categories job seekers can consider including, like out-of-pocket health-care costs, dental and vision benefits, and paid time off.
Given today's competitive hiring environment, consider adding less tangible perks to your spreadsheet, Salemi says. If diversity, equity, and inclusion is important to you, consider employers' track records in those areas. Will you be able to work remotely, and, if so, how often will you have to go into the office? What does the path for growth and promotion look like?
"Are you able to manage a team and or budget and what does that look like now, as well as in the future?" Salemi asks as an example. "I would focus on the money first and foremost, but these other pieces are also very important."
Once you've decided what you want in a job, be clear and upfront about your expectations throughout the interview process. Don't be shy about telling hiring managers what you want from the first interview, including what you expect in compensation.
"In the past, it was almost like forbidden" to bring up salary in a first interview, Salemi says. "Then, at the end of the entire process, you could talk numbers."
Those days are long gone. It's not uncommon to speak about your salary expectations beginning with the phone screening, Salemi says, and job seekers can use that mentality for discussions about other perks, too, like flexible schedules.
Video by Courtney Stith
If you want to work remotely, for example, tell your recruiter during your screening call, or mention it to the hiring manager in the first interview, Salemi says.
"It's important for a job seeker to know specifically what they're looking for, and then be clear about it," Salemi says. "You don't want to go through the entire hiring process and really love that the employer and have them love you, and then at the end, you're like, 'Oh, by the way, this is what I'm looking for. Can you accommodate?'"
Job seekers would be wise to remember that some old rules about your resume no longer apply in the current market, Salemi says. Chief among them? The notion that job hopping too frequently is bad. These days, employers are less cautious about workers who have left a job after only a few months, especially during the pandemic.
"It's not uncommon if you are with an employer for less than a year," Salemi says. "Red flags for job hopping are not a thing anymore."
Another old rule you can forget about? You need to live within commuting distance. A lot of employers who facilitated remote work during the pandemic are at least open to the idea of accommodating hybrid schedules, Salemi says, so use that openness to your advantage.
The key here is to be upfront about your needs and see what an employer is willing to cede ground on.
Ask your interviewer something like, "You know, the job description doesn't seem specify where the employee is located. I'm in Arkansas. I know the job is in Chicago. Is there a possibility to work remotely?"
That kind of question can apply to the number of times a week you go into an office, or even the hours that you work. Companies are being very accommodating in this competitive climate.
"The silver lining of a pandemic is that more employers are being more flexible. We wouldn't really have been having this conversation three years ago," Salemi says. "But employers are really serious about getting talent," and they're willing to make concessions along the way.
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