New data shows that job openings are at the highest level since records started being kept at the beginning of the millennium.
Job openings stand at 5.4 million for April, the most recent month for which data is available. So employers are busy looking for workers. Now, I know that the shock of layoffs, fewer hours, companies closing and all the rest has left a lot of workers with PTSD. And for those coming out of school in the last six years, there’s got to be a lot of skepticism as well.
But that’s looking backward. We’re at an inflection point when the job market has turned. The unemployment rate is much lower than it has been. So we are moving into a time period when you will be able to squeeze more pay out of the boss.
Some big corporate dinosaurs have gone to pay caps — where raises are capped at whatever arbitrary number no matter how good of an employee you are — but that won’t fly anymore. That kind of culture is done. If the boss doesn’t believe it, he or she will see turnover and face the cost of having to find, hire and train new workers.
Now, not every single job category or employer will be afraid of you going somewhere else. But it is a new issue and you have more control as an employee.
So what should you do if your paycheck is not as beefy as you like? The real power in the marketplace comes from you going out and testing the waters. See what other opportunities may be there for you.
So then you go to your boss and say, “I love working here, but I’ve been offered X more money…but I really want to stay here. Can you work with me?”
Unless you find what your market value is, it’s an empty exercise trying to get more money out the boss.
Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog
Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website.