It’s safe to say that the job market has significantly improved over the last couple of years. Unemployment rates are low, and more employers are becoming more comfortable with adding new staff.
What hasn’t changed much, however, is most peoples’ paychecks. Salaries have remained pretty stagnant in most sectors, save for 1-3 percent raises to keep up with inflation (if you’re lucky).
Things might be getting better soon, however, if you agree with research conducted by R. Jason Faberman and Alejandro Justiniano for the Chicago Fed Letter. Their article, “Job Switching and Wage Growth,” explains that a tight labor market – meaning fewer unemployed people looking for work – usually results in more people quitting their jobs to move onto better opportunities.
The big question: Is it quitting time for you?
You might want to hold out just a bit longer, according to the research. The authors explain that there’s a domino effect going on right now – with people less afraid to quit their jobs, companies will be forced to increase wages to keep the talent they have, or make better offers to those who are interested in leaving a competitor to job hop over to them.
As a nation, we’re still in the early phases of this happening, however. In other words, don’t jump ship just yet assuming a higher salary is waiting for you. It really depends on how much demand their is for the type of work you do.
That being said, the research is encouraging as it appears to give job seekers more bargaining power. If you think that this might be the right time for you to make a move that can improve your earnings, here are some strategies to consider:
Know Your Worth
What are other people in your industry making? Do some research and work your network to get a sense if you’re earning a fair wage, and/or what you can do to increase it (perhaps adding a new skill set).
See What’s Out There
Before you really start looking, do some job browsing. Are employers in your field hiring? Sign up for job alerts and follow big name companies on social media to keep tabs on how much recruiting they are doing.
Keep Your Connections Strong
Networking is always smart whether you’re looking for a job or not. Staying in touch with people and meeting new ones will help keep you in the loop about potential opportunities.
Give Your Employer a Chance
If you genuinely like your job and have a good relationship with your supervisor, before you seek out another position, ask to discuss your performance and see if there are is an opportunity for a promotion or raise. Going this route could very well result in a higher paycheck for you, or it could open your eyes to the fact that your growth with this employer has run its course.
Play the Field
If you decide you want to see what’s out there while you’re still working, do so discreetly. When meeting with prospective hiring managers or speaking with recruiters, make it clear that you’re in a stable job, but willing to move on for the right offer. Showcasing your skills, experience, and your confidence will make employers want you more.
Think Beyond the Bucks
Of course, the prospect of a better salary is hard to ignore, but don’t forget to factor in the benefits package, commute time, work expectations, and additional extras that will affect your lifestyle. For instance, an extra $5,000 might seem great, but if you have to pay out of pocket for your health insurance with the new employer or will be expected to work an extra 15-20 hours per week, it will cancel out the additional salary.
Move On Gracefully
If you do get a great offer, make sure you give your current employer at least two weeks notice and leave on good terms. That means helping to tie up loose ends, training someone to take over your tasks if necessary, and taking time to thank colleagues.