Under-employed? Under-paid?

Working? Uh huh. You have a job? …kinda.

Perhaps it’s part-time, or maybe it’s in a different industry doing something you really don’t care to mention and at a salary that is embarrassing when compared to your former position. But you’re working.

How did it feel on LinkedIn— when you indicated that you had taken that “new” job? All your contacts saw the announcement and quickly sent you their hearty congratulations…how did that feel?

Not so good?

Underemployment still helps the political agendas:

If you are working—underemployed, or under-paid you are helping the politicians extol their great achievement in improving the economy and getting people back to work. You are doing your part! Your community should stand in line and congratulate you for taking that job and getting back in the game. But is the success real?

Underemployed worker No. 1: Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen, 55, was laid off from her job working for a large insurance company. Her salary was $80K. Months later she finally resigned herself to a job at a local supermarket. She’s works checkout for $8.30 an hour.

After 60 days, IF she joins the union, she will get a raise to $9.00 an hour AND she will get a 5% discount on groceries. They schedule her for 15 hours a week.

A few weeks ago her company called and her old boss wants to hire her back at her old salary to do some contract work. Mary Ellen plans on taking that job and keeping her checkout job as well.

Underemployed worker No. 2: Sam

Sam, 58, lost his job too. He finally started working part-time for a restaurant chain. He works from home and is paid under $10 an hour to processes all their online payments, manage their website, post the specials, coupons, and promote new menu items. The job went to full-time but the pay rate didn’t change.

After a few years of underemployment, Sam was offered a job as a project manager from a competing company that laid him off. The salary offer was less than half of his former salary.

When Sam quoted the market value for the position he was told, “We think we can get someone to do this job for that salary.”

Sam continues to work both full-time jobs.

* * *

Will you go back to work?

This article shows that more people are going back to work in their industry.
Percentage of people going back to work by year:

  • January 2010 – 49% went back to work
  • January 2012 – 56% went back to work
  • January 2014 – 61% went back to work

I believe that this is reason to be encouraged. From the article:
The following chart shows the January employment status of longtime workers losing their jobs between 2011 and 2013, by major industry:


Note the far right column that shows the percentage of people that are out of the labor force. You don’t want to be in that statistic!

What about your former salary?

The article also shows that half of the re-employed took pay cuts. Only 52% were rehired at their previous salary or greater. Severe pay cuts were experienced by about 27% on average.

Here are the BLS statistics:


Note the column on the far right. You want to avoid being that statistic as well.

As I continue to watch the employment situation, I believe that temporary jobs—where a jobseeker works in an under-employed and under-paid position—are found credible by hiring entities. Overall, it is now a plus. However, I encourage people to designate that work on their résumé as “Temporary employment.” This includes their LinkedIn Profile.

3 Tips to help you get back to work:

  1. Review this checklist of jobsearch components:
    • A customizable Cover Letter and Résumé.
    • Stellar LinkedIn profile including recommendations.
    • Regular weekly activity on LinkedIn.
    • References who will respond when called.
    • An clean bill of health when you are checked out online.
    • Job opportunities that you are qualified for and believe are a good match for you.
    • Networking connections to help mentor your search.
    • A jobsearch support group.
  2. Process: Try, Learn, Repeat
    • Apply for 5-10 opportunities.
    • Assess the results that you get back.
    • Identify points for improvement and make changes.
    • Apply for 5-10 more opportunities. Repeat
  3. If you receive a call from a recruiter or a screening call from HR and s/he gives you reasons that the company will not consider you—then explain to them why they need not be concerned. Then you should tweak your cover and résumé for future submissions and ensure that their concern does not resurface when you apply for other opportunities.

2 Tips to negotiate a fair salary:

  1. Carefully check out the company. There are many online resources. Here are a few:
    • Consider Glassdoor.com
    • LinkedIn: Find people who formerly worked at the company, connect with them, and ask for a conversation.
  2. You MUST know your fair market value for the position that you are negotiating.
    • I prefer payscale.com
      Tip: If you can’t find your exact position, check out Administrative Assistant salaries, which are usually available. If the company pays them fairly, then other salaries will likely be fair as well.
    • Consider Glassdoor.com
    • I do not care for www.salary.com

Was this helpful? Give your thanks to Lisa Sementilli.
She saw the article that I used in this blog and sent me the link. Lisa spends hours every week researching the employment market. So go to her LinkedIn Profile and connect with her. She is a wealth of information and if you connect with her, that will help her out too.

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