The recession has been tough on everyone, particularly when it comes to the employment situation. The unemployment rate is still high, so we know there are many people who would like to be working but have not been able to find something. Many who are working have settled for jobs that pay less and offer less growth than they would like.
The common theme for graduating college seniors for the past few years is that they should be lucky to have a job at all, and the shouldn’t expect high salaries right out of college, much less a position where they can learn anything valuable about their industry other than how to to grunt work.
The recession is technically over, but employment is usually the last piece of the economy to improve. If the business climate improves in the following year, and companies begin to be willing to spend money on growth rather than shoring up balance sheets, the scales may start to tip more in favor of the employee rather than the employer. I know many people who have been keeping their eyes open for better jobs, networking with the right connections, and laying the groundwork.
While some companies, like Facebook, have been competing for the best employees throughout the recession, those who have not attracted talent will have to put some effort into recruitment as the economy continues to improve. We’ll start to see signing bonuses, higher compensation (even for entry-level jobs), and more profit sharing. From the employee’s point of view, the key is to be in demand, and that can only happen with hard work, focus, and something special to help stand out from the crowd.
Updated March 24, 2017 and originally published December 24, 2010.