USA Today reports that wages may be going up. The problem is that increases tend to be in certain professions and areas. Following an analysis by payroll processor ADP, the article claims that key trades are seeing pay increases between 3.8 and 7.2%. Interestingly the biggest pay increases have come in companies with 1,000 or more employees (5.9%). Smaller companies have offered lower raises: 500-999 employees (2.9%), 50-499 employees (2.5%), and 49 workers of less (2.9%). By region, the Midwest (4.4%) and West (4.4%) are earning more than those in the Northeast (3.0%) and South (2.6%). If these numbers are accurate, it's good news for workers in the right trade in the right area. Hopefully the good news will continue to grow and spread.
Clients will frequently tell me they want a job with stability. I caution that this goal might not be realistic or good for their careers. In a time of random layoffs and cost cutting, a job can end at any time. I’ve had clients whose bosses convinced them that the operation was stable only to have a company or division shut down six months later. There is no reason to expect any position to be stable.
Nor should you want it to be. Generally speaking, people who stay in the same job five years or more start to go flat or negative in salary. During a time when raises are low or non-existent, the best way to get ahead is look for new opportunity. Why should you stay at a job a year, if another employer will give you a better deal? Loyalty? Few employers have shown any loyalty over the last three decades. When workers can be cut, they are let go without any mercy. Employees need to take the same attitude. For most people, the only way to get a decent raise is to find a new employer.