Jobseeker Advantages During the Great Resignation Era

For months, career pundits have been talking about the “Great Resignation”—the tremendous movement within the labor market following the shutdowns of the early COVID-19 pandemic. In the 12 months preceding May 2022, 72 million job separations occurred, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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We have all seen the Great Resignation’s effects: staffing shortages that have reduced retail and restaurant hours, being asked to take on extra work, and headaches for hiring managers. But if you have not made a move yet, you may be wondering how searching for a new job during the Great Resignation can benefit you. The answer: A lot.

1. “Problem” resumes are less of a problem

Your resume has a troublesome gap. A Google search contains less than desirable results. You have been out of the workforce for a while. Your LinkedIn profile reveals you are on the older side for your industry. Or perhaps your youthful indiscretions turn up on background checks. In an employer’s market, these are all reasons a hiring manager might move on to the next candidate. But when 75 percent of hiring managers report they expect hiring to only get more difficult in the year ahead, your resume “problems” dissipate. Hiring managers are not receiving as many applications per job, which means they are spending more time looking at each resume they receive. This is a far cry from the days when any opening drew dozens if not hundreds of applicants.

2. Inflation can work to your advantage

In the 12 months ending in June 2022, the overall inflation rate was 9.1 percent. Sadly, your current employer is probably not giving you a 9.1 percent raise this year—and even if it did, depending on your perspective, it wouldn’t actually be a raise as it would keep your overall buying power at status quo. But many companies are raising new hire salaries to keep pace with or surpass inflation because if they don’t, job applicants are turning them down. If you want a substantial increase in your compensation, this is a good time to make a move as the desired candidate has leverage on their side.

3. Non-salary perks are also on the table

If you can’t get your ongoing compensation where you want it to be, a job market weighted toward employees offers other potential perks. As you’re negotiating, you can ask for a signing bonus. These can often be up to 10 percent of your base salary. Hiring managers may also be willing to work with you on:

  • Your start date. Want to take a vacation between jobs? Your new boss may be willing to wait an extra week or two to avoid restarting the hiring process again. Their back-up candidate (if they exist) has probably already accepted another offer.
  • Relocation expenses or remote work flexibility. Sending everyone home to “flatten the curve” changed many employers’ mindsets about where employees need to be physically located. You may be able to negotiate for increased remote work arrangements. Or, if you are willing to move and be at the office in person, your new company may be willing to pay more of your moving expenses.
  • Extra leave or professional development opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic changed many employee attitudes about what matters most to them professionally, and employers are having to flex to these new attitudes to retain workers. You may be able to negotiate extra leave or professional development opportunities as employers place new focus on employee mental health and work-life balance.
  • Job titles. Job seekers rarely want to make lateral moves. If everything about the role sounds great except the title, ask if that “manager” position can become a “director” role (with the commensurate pay increase). Often subtle wording differences are ways employers try to keep personnel costs down—but the actual work responsibilities differ little. It definitely does not hurt to ask in an employee’s market.

If you have not explored the job market yet, remember it never hurts to look around—and that these Great Resignation conditions will not stick around forever. Strike while the iron is hot.


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