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Old 02-18-2016, 01:39 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Options View Post
The new realities in the world of work are thus:

1) The labor market is like any other market: supply and demand. Regardless of meaningless organizational phrases such as employer of choice, employees are nothing more than an expense to employers.
2) In the labor market, the number of job seekers who are "average" exceeds the demand of jobs needing to be filled.
3) Employers are engaged in a so-called "war for talent", and if you are that talent, have no life and are willing to sell your soul, you'll be paid accordingly and handsomely. Everyone else will get scraps. (Additionally, in organizations today, obscene amounts of money is flowing to the top 10-20%, to the management and so-called leadership ranks; the bottom 80% aren't doing so well, eating cake, basically).
4) Standard raises before the 08 meltdown were 3% - since then employers learned they could get away with 2.5% without adversely affecting turnover.
5) A high % of employers use pay-for-performance and a bell curve when awarding raises. Following a bell curve, approx. 80% of employees will get 2.5%, about 10% will get less than that, and another 10% will get more than that. This means unless you are killing yourself at your job, you most likely shouldn't expect more than 2.5%.
6) If you can "easily" (as you say) get another job with a 15% increase in pay, I would personally do so immediately because (a) it's doubtful your current organization will match that (unless you've grossly underestimated your worth to them, which is entirely possible), (b) there's little, if any, guarantee the pension will be there in 10 years (given the historic track record of pensions reneged on/converted to DCB's); (c) your current organization could merge with another, your department could downsize, or you could be lucky enough to get a boss-from-hell supervisor who "eliminates" your job, either through restructure or through the "progressive discipline process".

Loyalty to an employer can be a suckers game, if you're not careful. My recommendation is to be loyal to (good) bosses, to (good) people, not organizations. You could be blown out the door tomorrow if a "business decision" was deemed to warrant it. If you can reasonably job hop your way to salary increases while gaining added experience, contacts, and expanded opportunities, it's certainly a worthwhile strategy.

All you have to sell is your time. Just as organizations seek to maximize their return on equity, your job is to maximize your return on energy expended. This means, for as long as you must work, your job is to get as much return in benefits, salary, and other perks in return for the life energy you expend by working at that job versus other things you could be doing.

Hope this give you some perspective. Good luck, whatever you decide.

+1. Remember there is someone waiting to take your job and do it for less money. The labor market has some slack in it still. Inflation is sub. 2 percent. You have to do non-conventional things to jump ahead in this labor market.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:07 AM   #62
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I'll suggest that you are applying some selective history.

History is history. What is selective about the changes that have occurred in the past 40 years? See the links below.

When tech jobs were in demand, people with the right skills were job-hopping or 30% raises. Depending on the supply/demand, the right worker has the leverage, and other times, the employers have the leverage. It isn't a one way street.

This is exactly what I advocate that all workers do, position themselves to obtain that leverage. Either that, or resign themselves to to nothing but average wages and opportunities of all kinds. For more on this, read "Average is over" by Tyler Cowen..


Some companies (past and present), feel it is in their best interests to have a stable workforce. They generally provide better overall compensation (not always money alone, it can take many forms) than other employers. What looks like 'loyalty' is just paying for the product they want (a stable workforce). If they could get it for less, I'm sure they would.

Companies present and future are only concerned with the bottom line. Employees make up almost 60% of any organization's costs. As opposed to desiring a stable workforce, organizations are in fact automating jobs and eliminating people altogether--a trend that will impact as much as 50% of today's jobs. See link below for job loss projections in the next four years alone.

There is also the very real impact of the 'flat world' - many 1st world workers are now competing with 2nd/3rd world workers. That depresses wages here, but that has taken a form in other times as well. Did we keep our agricultural work force in place after tractors and other efficiency advances came along? No, I don't think things have fundamentally changed.

Of course technology has been displacing jobs since at least the introduction of canals in Britain in the 18th century. Railroads displaced jobs, the industrial revolution displaced jobs. This is exactly the period we are in, and it is accelerating. See link below for "The Second Machine Age". I highly recommend this book for anyone with at least two decades of accumulation left.


-ERD50
See this:

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation: Tyler Cowen: 9780525953739: Amazon.com: Books

Quote:
High earners are taking ever more advantage of machine intelligence in data analysis and achieving ever-better results. Meanwhile, low earners who haven’t committed to learning, to making the most of new technologies, have poor prospects. Nearly every business sector relies less and less on manual labor, and this fact is forever changing the world of work and wages. A steady, secure life somewhere in the middle—average—is over.
Emphasis added

The costs of inequality: When a fair shake isn’t | Harvard Gazette

Quote:
The details show that real wages for most U.S. workers have been relatively stagnant since the 1970s, while those for the top 1 percent have increased 156 percent, and those for the top 0.1 percent have increased 362 percent, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.

Those trends resulted in the poorest 20 percent of Americans receiving just 3.6 percent of the national income in 2014, down from 5.7 percent in 1974. The upper 20 percent, meanwhile, received nearly half of U.S. income in 2014, up from about 40 percent in 1974, according to Census Bureau statistics.
Emphasis added

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies: Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, Jeff Cummings: 9781480577473: Amazon.com: Books

Quote:
In The Second Machine Age, MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee―two thinkers at the forefront of their field―reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.

Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds―from lawyers to truck drivers―will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar.
Emphasis added

I also recommend this book:

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford | 9780465059997 | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble

Quote:
What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? We might imagine—and hope—that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last: even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era. In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries—education and health care—that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself.
Emphasis added

What's actionable here for those not yet retired is to (a) educate yourself on the changes happening on a macro level related to work; (b) do the same on a micro level with respect to your chosen field, company, department, and individual job; (c) map out a strategy of how you will navigate these changes while increasing your income and advancement opportunities; and (d) have a plan in advance of what to do in the event you lose your job. As much as possible, avoid being a victim of surprise, as is all too common today.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:20 AM   #63
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I don't understand the repeating theme of salary "flattening" out at midcareer. Salary
Is attached to responsibilities and adding value, if you keep taking your bosses job, you will get mire money. If not, create a new business.

There isn't some magical pay ceiling (racism, sexism, etc aside)
This is a pretty unrealistic look at life in a Mega, IMO. Yes, you can occasionally get a promotion to your boss's job, but unless you are able to make it up into the upper levels of management you will top out pretty quickly. Also, I believe many of the people here are like me in that they wanted to not move into management, and would rather stay in the technical side of their field. This also tends to preclude significant promotion. So yes, you do tend to top out a pay band and end up with flat lining pay increases. Personally, any loss of increased pay was made well worth it by not having to deal with the massive headaches of personnel management. And while I wasn't thrilled to have to have a job at all (hence FIRE), I did at least enjoy the technical aspects of my career. If I'd have chased the money into management I'd probably have ended up shooting myself or others. But that's just me.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:59 AM   #64
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See this: ...
Too hard to re-quote and reply line by line, but...

It seems we are saying the same thing. It's always been this way (canals, railroads, tractors). That's why I said this isn't "new". Of course, the future only rhymes with the past - yesterdays trains/tractors are today's robots and technology that allows outsourcing of some jobs (they haven't been able to outsource plumbers... yet).

I'll also add that your references focus on the negative effects on American workers, but ignore the good that outsourcing does for the 3rd world workers. It's subjective, but I see it as more important that some 3rd world worker can get a factory job and provide the basics (food, water, shelter) for his/her family, versus a slightly higher wage for some lower/middle class American so they can order the premium cable channels or a new iPhone.

-ERD50
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:34 AM   #65
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Too hard to re-quote and reply line by line, but...

It seems we are saying the same thing. It's always been this way (canals, railroads, tractors). That's why I said this isn't "new". Of course, the future only rhymes with the past - yesterdays trains/tractors are today's robots and technology that allows outsourcing of some jobs (they haven't been able to outsource plumbers... yet).

I'll also add that your references focus on the negative effects on American workers, but ignore the good that outsourcing does for the 3rd world workers. It's subjective, but I see it as more important that some 3rd world worker can get a factory job and provide the basics (food, water, shelter) for his/her family, versus a slightly higher wage for some lower/middle class American so they can order the premium cable channels or a new iPhone.

-ERD50
No we are not saying the same thing. Did you read the articles? It seems you might benefit from reading the books as well (these are just a few). Prior technologies were about new systems, new ways of doing things, which as a by-product impacted labor. Today’s technologies have a direct impact on labor—as in the wholesale elimination of jobs, even the elimination of a labor requirement. Replacement jobs, even in new fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and social media, require far fewer employees. Higher paying jobs, those that historically supported accumulation towards retirement, are disappearing and being lost to automation. A large proportion of those jobs created after the economic meltdown were in lower wage industries.

Outsourcing is only one small part of this change. In fact, there has been much in-sourcing of manufacturing in recent years, but all in-sourced jobs are requiring far fewer workers. The fewer new manufacturing jobs that have arisen require skill in working with/manipulating machines. This is the future of all work: humans interacting with machines, if not replaced by machines. Workers in third world countries are caught up in this cycle as well as companies hopscotch the globe in search of ever lower labor costs, until those costs can be eliminated altogether by machines.

The result is a deep acceleration of inequality, job insecurity, and human capital endangerment, impacting anyone in the accumulation phase. This will only accelerate in our lifetimes. It’s a mistake to brush these trends off as “this is nothing new”.

If you’re still in the accumulation phase, it’s best to approach every aspect of your working life from a strictly strategic point of view (e.g., what's your plan when you are, say 53 years old, and called into the office of your boss on a Friday afternoon and told your position is being "eliminated", or the company is merging with another, or your department is moving to the other side of the country? It would be wise to plan on something like this happening, no matter how secure you think your job is). Your decumulation phase depends on it.
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:39 AM   #66
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Good ole Coporate America. In my middle manager days, I remember when it was time for doling out raises. Seems like the budget always called for 3% average raises. So you put in your recs for your staff to upper mgmt. and this is what usually happened:

1) For the excellent performers, I might recommend 5%. Usually shot down by upper mgmt "too much"

2) Average performers - would recommend 2.5% or 3%. Usually okayed by upper mgmt.

3) For the deadwood performers, Would recommend 0% or dismissal. Upper mgmt would respond "can't do that" - in other words did not want to deal with HR.

So the end result was the excellent performer might squeeze out 4% and would be unhappy. The average performer got what they deserved and the deadwood would get more than they deserved.

Those days really were unpleasant.
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:56 AM   #67
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No we are not saying the same thing. ... Today’s technologies have a direct impact on labor—as in the wholesale elimination of jobs, even the elimination of a labor requirement.
Check the white pages for "Buggy-Whip manufacturers", or put up an ad for "Plow-Boy - must be able to manage a two-horse team".



Quote:
Replacement jobs, even in new fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and social media, require far fewer employees.
We used to have something like 80% of the population directly working in agriculture, it is now single digits. But we don't have 80% unemployment.



Quote:
If you’re still in the accumulation phase, it’s best to approach every aspect of your working life from a strictly strategic point of view (e.g., what's your plan when you are, say 53 years old, and called into the office of your boss on a Friday afternoon and told your position is being "eliminated", or the company is merging with another, or your department is moving to the other side of the country? It would be wise to plan on something like this happening, no matter how secure you think your job is). Your decumulation phase depends on it.
Agreed, and to my original point - this is nothing new.

Back around 1980 (36 long years ago), my ideas for planning for the future went from "that's a good thing to do", and doing reasonable LBYM and saving/investing, to being cemented in my mind permanently. I attended a job fair, representing my MegaCorp, collecting resumes from prospective employees. I had a long line of 50-somethings who were " called into the office of your boss on a Friday afternoon and told your position is being "eliminated",". Their skill set was outdated, and this twenty-something had no choice but to hand them back their resumes, and say "I'm sorry, but you do not have the skill sets and experience we are looking for". I will never forget the looks on their faces. They were clearly not prepared, and I swore (cue "Gone With the Wind" background music), "As God is my witness, I'll never be that vulnerable and dependent on MegaCorp".


I'm pretty sure scenes like that have been taking place for hundreds of years.

-ERD50
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:23 PM   #68
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Those days really were unpleasant.
The flip side of having to deal with telling people what the raises would be, was to be on the receiving side of that message. And it was very frustrating until you got to the point of understanding what the system was. Where I was at MC, the bands were +/- 20%. But in reality, the bulk of the people were +/- 8% of midpoint. The way to make money was to jump to the next pay grade, and there were two ways to do that (in my observation). One was to become a technical expert, such that your abilities were recognized and rewarded. The other was to climb the management path.

For many years, the technical ladder was a bit short. After one of the big recoveries in the national economy, other companies started mining the technical people at the MC where I w*rked. After a number of pretty smart folks walked, there were changes made to the technical path that created some decent raises and more opportunities for pay grade increases. I was at a point in my career to benefit from a few of these pay grade opportunities.

The director who had made the speech about 'if you can find a better job, take it!' and 'we don't expect people to spend their entire career here' was not seen again, and the new director was determined to convince everybody that they were valued and there were opportunities. There were some broad raises in the technical community and a number of promotions to higher pay grades. So, given some time, the marketplace did adjust pay scales.

Another effect of the stagnant wages during those years was that folks started to understand the formula. If you really busted your hump, but there were no slots for promotion, then you might rise up a few percent above midpoint in the pay band. If you did an ok job, basically punched the clock, you might slide a few percent below midpoint. The 'increased pay as motivation' became weak for many people, and thus you saw a number of folks coast into the later years of their career. The folks that were slightly above average had opportunities to work on the better projects. The people who were aggressively pursuing the status quo ended up doing more of the drudge work.

The same sorting happened for the managers. The folks that brought out the best results from their people tended to get the better projects, and the better people. The managers who were not as effective ended up in the maintenance area. Success to the successful.

One of my relatives said something that I thought was interesting. You can jump from company to company when you are young, but once you get about 45, you need to settle in and just work for a living. I have seen several folks climb from company to company, and then find themselves out on a ledge when they were over qualified, to pricey, or not enough good years left in them. I think that is depressing, but perhaps true.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:29 PM   #69
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This is a pretty unrealistic look at life in a Mega, IMO. Yes, you can occasionally get a promotion to your boss's job, but unless you are able to make it up into the upper levels of management you will top out pretty quickly. Also, I believe many of the people here are like me in that they wanted to not move into management, and would rather stay in the technical side of their field. This also tends to preclude significant promotion. So yes, you do tend to top out a pay band and end up with flat lining pay increases. Personally, any loss of increased pay was made well worth it by not having to deal with the massive headaches of personnel management. And while I wasn't thrilled to have to have a job at all (hence FIRE), I did at least enjoy the technical aspects of my career. If I'd have chased the money into management I'd probably have ended up shooting myself or others. But that's just me.

I think your point is once you stop wanting and pursuing more money, you cease to acquire more money. I can agree with that.




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Old 02-18-2016, 02:26 PM   #70
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One thing I remember from Megacorp was this:

When the business targets were presented, we always got a pep talk: "these may look like unrealistic goals and timelines, and 8% sales growth in a market that is growing 2% (and we already have >75% market share) may sound impossible, but we are not an average company and our workers do better than average"

Fast forward to raise time, or changes to our benefits package, and the message always started with "Megacorp's total compensation package is average compared to other companies in our business"

Workers were always superior in January but average by December.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:28 PM   #71
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Workers were always superior in January but average by December.
You've broken the code and have management potential!
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:02 AM   #72
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I'm a government contractor, and I've been stuck in the 3% rut since 2012. Here's a rundown of the raises I've gotten, for as far back as I can trust my memory, at least...

9/09: 5.0%
9/10: 4.2%
9/11: 4.6%
9/12: 3.0%
9/13: 3.0%
3/14: 1.8% (6 month)
3/15: 2.9%

[...]
Congratulations, your 2015 raise is your second-best ever! Other have already pointed out the importance of looking at real, inflation-adjusted figures in this thread. I ran the numbers to drive home the point:

Year / Nominal raise / US inflation rate / Real raise
2009 / 5.0% /-0.3% / 5.3%
2010 / 4.2% / 1.6% / 2.6%
2011 / 4.6% / 3.2% / 1.4%
2012 / 3.0% / 2.0% / 1.0%
2013 / 3.0% / 1.5% / 1.5%
2014 / 1.8% / 1.6% / 0.2%
2015 / 2.9% / 0.1% / 2.8%

(inflation data is from Historical Inflation Rate- Annual Inflation rates from 1913 to the present |InflationData.com)

I made the same calculation for the general raises my mega passes out to almost everybody (merit increases come on top, but they are almost extinct nowadays). Turns out that the last three years at 4.0%, 3.0% and 2.4%, respectively, were by far the best of my career, once you adjust for inflation.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:04 AM   #73
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Recovering banker here - now in the credit union sector. Last year 5% increase, but most of the organization got 3% +/-. I've been very blessed. During my banking days 3% or less was very typical.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:13 AM   #74
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to get bigger raises, as others have mentioned, you need to break into a higher pay band (or move to a higher COL area which could backfire); your job has a market value established by salary surveys (done by compensation consultants) which your employer likely participates

so law degree, mba, certain professional credentials, more responsibility, etc
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:13 AM   #75
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One thing I remember from Megacorp was this:

When the business targets were presented, we always got a pep talk: "these may look like unrealistic goals and timelines, and 8% sales growth in a market that is growing 2% (and we already have >75% market share) may sound impossible, but we are not an average company and our workers do better than average"

Fast forward to raise time, or changes to our benefits package, and the message always started with "Megacorp's total compensation package is average compared to other companies in our business"

Workers were always superior in January but average by December.
+100. Did you work for Motorola? (My former mega.)

My Megacorp also bait and switched on the stretch goals that bonus percentages were based on. They wouldn't report hard numbers, but gave stop light indicators each quarter on whether we were on track. Bonuses went up if we exceeded the (already stretched) goals. One year we had 3 quarter's of green lights on the goals (meaning we exceeded the goals.). They didn't publish a stop light for the 4th quarter. Bonuses came out and we had the lesser percentage. Then I dug into the financial statements (4th Q and year end). We'd blown out the 4th quarter - it was the best ever. But somehow it didn't translate into our bonuses. I think that took the wind out of a lot of employee's sails... Why push to meet goals if the company is going to lie and not compensate as promised.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:31 AM   #76
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They were clearly not prepared, and I swore (cue "Gone With the Wind" background music), "As God is my witness, I'll never be that vulnerable and dependent on MegaCorp".

+1

As I have said previously, some of the best advice I ever got from my father was "Always work for yourself, even if you are employed by others." By this he meant, do an honest day's work, keep your skill level up and don't sacrifice your future for the good of your employer.


I think a lot of the Millennials have learned this lesson after seeing what happened to many people in their parent's generation. Some of us were just ahead of our their time.
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:41 AM   #77
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I did an exercise recently...the annual figures from my SS statement adjusted by wage inflation. I worked a few years, then got my masters degree. There was a step-up at the masters degree, but generally flat from then on; no general upward trend of any magnitude. And I switched companies too. Probably would have lost ground had I not jumped ship a few times. Sad that the megacorps value a noob as much as someone who's been around.
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:03 PM   #78
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I read an article recently (sorry, I can't post the link) where they described how many organizations are now pre-filtering out applicants with the highest salaries. Apparently the it started during the great recession. Here is a small quote from the article:

"Unfortunately, some clients use salary as a pre-screening question,i'” said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS Inc., a provider of recruiting software in Matawan, N.J. “So if the role tops out at $55,000 and they say they want $60,000, it might knock the candidate out of consideration” even if the person would be open to salary negotiations."

It may be that it is still a buyers market in employment and strategies like this are slowly capping salaries for many people?
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:10 PM   #79
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I read the same article.


I was somewhat surprised that pay is mentioned at all by the candidate during the interview process.
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:31 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
I did an exercise recently...the annual figures from my SS statement adjusted by wage inflation. I worked a few years, then got my masters degree. There was a step-up at the masters degree, but generally flat from then on; no general upward trend of any magnitude. And I switched companies too. Probably would have lost ground had I not jumped ship a few times. Sad that the megacorps value a noob as much as someone who's been around.
I've been doing the same for the last few years, mostly out of curiosity. The results could be depressing, if I let them. In 1986, I made $42K with BigOil 4 years into my first job out of college. I went back to grad school in 1987 and then started teaching. It took me until 2008, leaving teaching, and moving to a HCOL area to top that 1986 salary on an inflation adjusted basis. I could think of that as 22 years of missed earnings potential but, instead, I think of it as 22 years with lots more time that I spent with DW and kids.

Edit: Oh, and playing golf.
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