The Labor Market from the Vantage Point of a Job Seeker

I went to my local grocery store today and had a great chat with one of the employees. I’ve gone to this store for a long time and built a good rapport with this person. Today he told me it was his last day. I was sad to hear it but happy for him because he’s moving on to a better opportunity. The labor market has been on my mind as of late, so I was interested to hear the details of his situation. A few highlights:

  • Multiple opportunities – He’s been evaluating three opportunities: offers from his current employer, one of its competitors, and a company in a different industry.
  • Evaluation – He’s evaluating compensation, benefits, and the likelihood of the company setting him up for success in retirement. He has a great understanding of the benefits and retirement details of each employer. He wants to work somewhere he can stay for a while and retire from at some point.
  • Frustration – He likes his current employer but is frustrated that new hires with less experience are being paid more than existing employees. He is training these employees, yet their compensation is higher than his. That doesn’t feel fair. He believes employers need to adjust compensation for existing employees to market rate or risk losing them to better opportunities elsewhere.
  • Fit – He has a good idea of the type of work that’s best for him based on his experience and the stage of his career. He’s comfortable declining opportunities that don’t align. He’s looking for something that’s a good fit for him and the employer.
  • Excitement – He’s genuinely excited and feels like he’s in the driver’s seat of his career (maybe for the first time). He has the chance to work for a company that values his contributions and will set him up for success during and after his time with them.

It’s impossible for a company to be successful without a good team. As a founder, I saw firsthand how others contributed to the success of my company. The current labor dynamic is changing how companies go about building good teams. While anecdotal, today’s interaction gives me the feeling that we’re on the cusp of a change in how some companies approach recruiting.