Job Hunting in a Tight Market
By Jerry Green
Much has been written about the U.S. labor market in recent years, most frequently
the dramatic, 50-year low in unemployment and the idea that everyone who wants a job can find one. But such a tight labor market can also work against those seeking employment.
Even as the market incentivizes companies to loosen job requirements that would seemingly make it easier for those seeking work, a phenomenon known as “spatial mismatch,” or a mismatch between where jobs are located where job seekers live, can lead to a long spell of unemployment for some, according to the job site Ladders.com.
Spatial mismatch occurs wherever there is a lack of affordable housing and access to public transportation, according to the Urban Institute, meaning jobs are no longer located a reasonable distance from one’s home. In other words, unwieldy trips and transportation costs nullify the benefits of many jobs, especially those on the minimum-wage level.
Because these jobs often feature unpredictable schedules, the Institute believes that in order to attract quality workers businesses will have to increase wages and offset transportation issues by creating fair and predictable schedules. It also recommends local governments increase efforts to develop affordable housing and route public transportation near service-industry hubs to maximize potential for those in lower-wage jobs.
While almost full employment is an enviable position for any economy, spatial mismatch is a roadblock for job-seekers and employers alike. Employers want a qualified, reliable workforce and making allowances for equitable schedules only makes sense.
The Good News
The good news is that because of the tight market, employers have lowered requirements for temporary workers, lowered expectations for years of experience and education, and some have even dropped drug testing and background checks.
So how do you navigate finding meaningful work, a higher salary and good benefits in this market?
Not all industries are facing shortages, so it’s important to do your homework beforehand. As long as you’re well informed about the position and can make a convincing case for your worth, you should try to negotiate to maximize your salary potential.
One of the great benefits of the tight labor market is that it opens up opportunities that may not have existed before. If you’ve ever dreamed of working for a specific company in a specific role, now is the time to apply.
Despite shortages, companies still want to hire and retain a motivated, reliable and efficient workforce. The bottom line is to aim high and put your best foot forward.
Hot Job Profile
Broadcast/Sound Engineering Technicians
2018 median pay: $43,660 per year ($20.99 per hour)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Number of jobs in 2018: 144,300
Job outlook, 2018-28: 8% (faster than average)
Employment change, 2018-28: 11,500
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate and maintain the electrical
equipment for media programs.
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically need postsecondary
education. Depending on the work they do, they may need either a post-secondary non-degree award or an associate degree.
Growth is expected to stem from businesses, schools and entertainment industries
seeking to improve their audio and video capabilities. They will need technicians to set up, operate and maintain equipment.