Have you asked for a raise yet? Economists say now may be the time.
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According to the September jobs report released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 134,000 jobs were added in September. After year-over-year wage gains of 2.9 percent in August, September saw another slight boost — 2.8 percent — in wage growth. Unemployment dipped to 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969.
Martha Gimbel, Director of Economic Research at Indeed, says these slight wage gains are a reflection of today’s tight labor market, in which job-seekers have more power to negotiate their pay.
“Employers don’t have the same ability to be as picky as they were five to six years ago,” she tells CNBC Make It. “So if you are looking to walk into your boss’s office to ask for a raise, now is probably a pretty good time.”
CNBC Make It spoke with Gimbel and Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain to break down what’s happening with wages, which industries are seeing the most job growth and how today’s jobs report compares to 10 years ago.
According to Chamberlain, while wage growth could be higher, back-to-back months of gains show that job-seekers could be seeing higher paychecks as we head into the holidays.
“Pay is rising because companies are running out of workers to hire, and so they are forced to offer more pay to get the employees they need,” he says. He says Amazon’s announcement on Tuesday that it would be raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour is just one example of companies increasing pay.
Glassdoor’s most recent Local Pay Reports also shows that low-wage jobs, like maintenance worker, bartender and bank teller saw year-over-year wage increases of 8.2 percent, 6.6 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. Additionally, major cities like San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles were the top three locations to see year-over-year pay growth.
“I want to emphasize that if you have any dissatisfaction with your job or career, now is the time to go out and make a change,” says Chamberlain. “There are a record number of jobs out there today and workers are in a good bargaining market, and now is the time for workers to get the most out of it, in terms of pay and benefits.”
(Still not sure if now’s the time to make a move? Here are four ways to tell if it’s time for you to quit. Need help asking for what you want? This is the exact right way to ask for a raise. Ready to make a move but not sure what it should be? Here’s how to land your dream job.)
The professional and business services sector added 560,000 jobs to the economy over the past year, and 54,000 last month. Currently, Chamberlain says Glassdoor has about 1.2 million job openings on its platform in business services and tech.
He says anyone — in any industry — looking to stand out in today’s market should be able to demonstrate their tech savvy.
“You should have some ability to work with data,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a data scientist, but more businesses today are making decisions with data, and they are expecting employees to be more fluent there.”
In addition to the professional and business services sector, healthcare employment rose by 26,000 in September. According to Glassdoor, lower wage roles in this industry, like pharmacy technicians and emergency medical technicians, have seen pay increases as much as twice the national average. That’s because these jobs focus heavily on human interaction, which makes them less susceptible to automation.
“Healthcare is a growing industry and we know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects further growth there in the future,” says Gimbel. “With an aging population, healthcare is likely to become more and more important.”
Chamberlain also emphasizes that anyone looking for temporary work around the holiday season should consider looking for a job in e-commerce. He says that while retail lost 20,000 jobs last month, the transportation and warehouse sector (where a lot of e-commerce jobs are found) added 23,000 jobs.
“It shows that if you’re looking to earn some extra cash with temporary work, then e-commerce might be a smart bet over regular retail,” he adds.
Still looking for encouragement? Just 10 years ago workers were scrambling for opportunities. A glance back at the September 2008 jobs report depicts a stark landscape: 159,000 jobs were lost that month. Employment had been decreasing for nine consecutive months, and the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent — almost double today’s unemployment rate.
“This is an economy in recession, and every dimension of the report confirms that,” Ethan S. Harris, an economist at Barclays Capital, told The New York Times in 2008. “This has been preceded by a slow-motion recession. Now we’re going into the full-speed recession that will last somewhere between three and five quarters.”
Michael T. Darda, chief economist at research and trading firm MKM Partners, told The New York Times that there was “really nothing good about this report at all.”
Chamberlain and Gimbel agree that job-seekers today, by contrast, are in a great position to find solid employment and better pay — news that every employee should consider how to capitalize on.
“These really are the good times for job-seekers,” says Chamberlain. “This is a great time to think about making a move and going to your employer to bargain for that raise you have been thinking about.”
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