I was reading a story today that 84% of employees will be seeking a new opportunity in 2011. That is 4 out of 5 of employees who are currently disssatisfied with their jobs. Many will say these numbers are outrageous. But, I have seen it with my both my resume writing and staffing firm. Several employees who I have placed in the past are jumping ship. And, those that aren’t, are emailing me telling me they are working longer hours with zero extra pay and are both getting tired and getting tired of it.
One user comment on this story said it best, “Frozen compensation is just a given in a bad job market. I’ve heard from an employer before, that we (the employees) shouldn’t be there for the money–we should be there for the company. The problem with that logic is that when the company does well, we don’t get to participate in the upside. We only get to participate in the downside with frozen wages and more work. I’m all for free-market capitalism, but I have a feeling that when things get better, a few employers are going to be blindsided when some of their best employees move on. Yes, employees should have a vested interest in seeing the company succeed, but employers would be remiss to forget that people don’t work for free and money is an important factor of any job–no matter what the position or size of the company.”
The economy is picking up and more jobs are opening. Even though it won’t pick up enough for 84% of the workforce to find new positions (sorry guys!) , it will have a snowball effect. First companies lose their best people who will be proactively recruited to competitors. When those employees leave, the rest of the staff in the team/department will be left to pick up the slack. As the firm does not compensate for these extra duties since wages are officially frozen and morale plummets. The economy picks up a bit more and and few more people shift positions. The firms are left to fill their vacant positions at higher salaries since that is what the market was demanding. The must spend money on recruting new professionals and start over with a new person on training (even veteran employees must be trained on systems and policies/procedures). Firms then get into motion and begin to get more flexible with raises and bonuses. In my experiences, this is usually not advertised. There will not be one standard email that is sent stating that WOO HOO every single person gets a percentage raise on their salary. No, companies are somewhat smart (and cheap). They are usually going to wait until its do or die to to keep a valuable employee.
So, what does thsi mean for you? This means go for it! This is the time to stop your *itching behind closed doors and do something. Schedule a meeting with your managers to discuss what you have done to contribute to the overall growth of the firm, and secure an incentive for your efforts (raise/yearly bonus/promotion/extra vacation – yes that can be negotated too). Don’t be whiny, you need more money, aren’t happy, etc. Instead check your emotions at the door, and be prepared. Compose a document of your accomplishments, additional duties, and concrete numbers. Usually, executives have no idea what your individual contributions are as they only see the bottom line of the department. They are too busy with their heads up their &ss in meetings chanting “Do More with Less”. Make a list and shove it down their throat (okay, not literally). Be charming, make a friend, and get something for you efforts.