Huffington Post reports that income inequality costs the average American worker $18,000 a year. This number is drawn from an Economic Policy Institute report that considers how money has been redistributed from the working poor and middle class to the 1%. The question is not just lost income, but also how increased productivity has not been matched by increased salaries. Huffington Post author Jillian Berman puts it this way: “The rich have gotten richer at the expense of the rest of us.”
This article is another example of why good job news can hide deeper problems. If workers are getting low income jobs or not getting decent raise, they will have a constant feeling of falling behind, one step from bankruptcy – social insecurity. This problem will not be solved until something changes so there is a more equitable distribution of income and wealth. America needs a raise, the kind of raise that will let working people pay off their debts and save for the future.
Since 2008, young workers, including college graduates, have struggled to get a good job. Writing in Huffington Post, Jillian Berman examines this problem with a focus on college graduates getting jobs that do not require a degree, which usually means that they pay lower wages. Young workers are earning less and building wealth much more slowly than the previous generation. Then Berman adds the real problem: debt. College graduate now hold student loans that are more than twice what a graduate would have had in the early 1980s.
Berman questions whether young college grads will ever dig out of this hole. I’m a little less pessimistic. I think the current generation on average will not enjoy the opportunities my generation did. However, many will succeed on the individual level because they will practice good career management. It’s easy to give into despair and say that things will never get better. Several of my younger clients have had to take first jobs that were less than they expected. But they kept looking for something better. They targeted and improved the skills they want to use on the job, and they were able to get better jobs. Looking for work is never easy, but in a job market like this one, the only way to get ahead is to keep looking for a better opportunity.