We all know the job market is sort of tight at the moment. That’s not really news. But that’s not all. The tight job market also means that if you’re out of work and looking to find a job like the one you last held, you’ll probably end up making way less than you last did. That is, if you find a job in the first place. Intuitively, this makes sense—if there are fewer jobs to fill, employers can offer lower wages to a struggling labor force. But that doesn’t mean that this makes the situation any less annoying.
On the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal, wages are actually growing, but at a slow pace. So how does this all add up, and why are many people’s wages still lower than they were before this downturn? If you have been working for 20+ years, most likely the skills you have accumulated may have become outdated. Not good news, I know. So now because of the recession, these experienced people with outdated skills are much less marketable. To add to that, people who are really desperate to find work (which, a lot of people understandably are—the bills have to be paid somehow) settle for jobs that don’t really add to their skill set. I’m not saying that knowing how to make a soy vanilla latte is not a skill. But if you were originally working as a marketing executive, I don’t think a brief stint at Starbucks will help your resume much.
So I guess the big question is, what do you do? This is a hard question, because everyone is in a different situation. Ideally, you have some money saved up and can afford to be more thorough in your job search. That way, you can be more selective in the job offers you accept, and not take a job that won’t do much for your resume. Maybe you could even go back to school to acquire some new marketable skills, like accounting. On the other hand, if you don’t really have money saved up and bills have to be paid, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m curious as to how others have handled their situation.