The issue with jobs: A tale of two extremes
Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro
Layoffs. Job creations. Economic insecurities. “Everyone is hiring.” “I can’t find a job.” For sure, this job market is strange. It is functioning in ways that are confusing, and could often be interpreted as misleading. It sure seems like “everyone” is hiring, as it seems like “now hiring” or “help wanted” signs are everywhere. Recently, there seems to be a number of people complaining that they cannot find a job, or that potential employers are not calling them back.
I recently stumbled upon this posting on LinkedIn, where LinkedIn is advertising for three remote business companies who are hiring. That’s all well and good, but read the comments below the posting. Many people are complaining about not being called back by the listed companies, and others are complaining about additional personal experiences they had with separate companies. Some cite being “low balled” for a starting wage, some are pointing out that some entry-level positions still require five or more years of experience and others are complaining about companies not calling them back. Yet another complaint is that “remote” positions are still requiring time in a call center and/or travel to an office.
A quick Google search can find open positions, as well as can quick searches on sites such as Indeed and SimplyHired. Depending on the field in which the job search is conducted, there can be a lot of fake job postings. There are many postings still regarding “get rich quick” and pyramid schemes; those “pay this person $1,500 and when you recruit more people, the recruits will pay you $1,500 and you give $500 to the person above you” types of “jobs.” Sounds easy to do, but only in your wildest dreams is it effective. On a personal note, I’ve often wondered how people can make money off of something like this, yet I’m stuck at the very bottom of the monetary food chain, living paycheck to paycheck. Why can’t I be one of those people? The answer is simple, though; because it is not honest work.
According to CNBC, there were job growths in three industries in January of this year: Leisure and hospitality, professional and business service and, of course, government. The leisure and hospitality sector added 128,000 jobs, professional and business services grew by 82,000 jobs and the government added 74,000 jobs. Other industries grew as well: Healthcare grew by 58,000 jobs and retail by 30,000 just to name a few. The unemployment rate was maintained at 3.4%, relatively unmoving since January 2022, which is the lowest it's been since 1969. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has the full breakdown from the past year, including by gender and race.
So, where does the issue of unemployment lay? Are workers being pickier with their hiring desires? Sure, bargaining for a fair wage is acceptable, but what constitutes crossing the line? Many states have fought to increase minimum wage, which also leaves businesses in a position where they are required to pay their workers more. Minimum wage in Rhode Island is now $13, with the state increasing it to $15 by 2025. These increases are good things, but they also only apply to minimum wage workers. This wage increase leaves out higher paying positions, such as those in the IT field. Again though, I ask where the issue lies?
The answer is not simple, since this issue is a two-way street. Potential employees are asking for more, whether it be money or remote work accommodations, and some employers are not giving it, be it because they cannot or simply won’t.
It is often joked that getting into a college or university-specific program, or even a graduate program, is so competitive that in order to get in, you need to have cured AIDS or cancer, started a charity and became a famous Olympian by the time you turn 14. Are employers expecting the same level of competition? Are their expectations for their positions too high? In a general sense, this is true, though not all employers are this way.
What does this mean for us, as college students, in our chosen fields, after graduation? Are we going to need to know someone “on the inside?” The job market looks promising now, and only time will tell.
A few words of advice for those currently seeking a job: Know how to identify fake job listings, know your worth, don’t settle for anything unreasonable and be as flexible as you can.