Careers

Ghosting Coasting, Mandatory Overtime, Less Competition In Your Job Search, Confusing Return-To-Office Plans And Other Trends For The Rest Of 2021


It’s hard to believe that the summer’s over and September is coming to an end. Within two months we’re nearing the holiday season. For job seekers, Thanksgiving Day represents the beginning of the end-of-year slowdown. Once we get into the second week of December, hiring flatlines. Preoccupation with holiday plans, parties, buying gifts, flying out to see family and going on vacations takes precedence over interviewing job seekers.   

On The Positive Side 

If you are interested in getting a new job, you have to act fast. There’s not a lot of time left. A vast majority of potential job seekers pull themselves out of the running between now and the holiday season. They will say that they want to wait until they receive a bonus, possible promotion or potential raise. Procrastination reigns supreme as it is so easy to put off interviewing until next year.  

If you truly desire a new job, it is a good time, as there will be significantly less competition. This will enable you to stand out in a smaller crowd. Since companies are aware of this trend, they will be less critical and more open minded with respect to their requirements. Once everyone returns to the job market after the new year, the barriers to entry for jobs rises once again and competition increases.  

The Downside

Be prepared. There are challenges attendant with this time period. Companies may be much more frugal in their hiring approach. Their budgets have mostly been spent. If they pay a lot for a new person, it will eat into the raises and bonuses that would ordinarily be paid out to internal employees. 

If you are anticipating a large bonus which would be paid out in 2022, managers most likely will take a pass. They don’t want to write a check to buy out a multi thousand dollar bonus to someone who will only be working for about a month or so for the rest of the year. They’d either wait for you to receive the bonus or look for another candidate who doesn’t need to be reimbursed for money that they are leaving behind. 

 Ghosting Coasting

We’ve all heard of the ‘Great Resignation,’ the movement of workers quitting. They say they’re overworked and underpaid. There’s now another trend emerging. As businesses struggle to find workers, they’re loosening their standards and bringing aboard anyone with a pulse. For example, a new hire may work for a few days and move on to the next restaurant without notice before they are let go due to lack of skills. This is referred to as ‘ghosting coasting.’ 

The Beige Book is a collection of  economic indicators from the Federal Reserve Bank to gain a sense of the economy. Covering the new developments, NPR said that “Restaurateurs noted concerns over ghosting coasting – ghosting as in when my friends don’t text me back – ghosting – and coasting, like when you’re riding a bicycle and you stop pedaling, and you just kind of fly down the hill.”

The NPR reporters described the ghosting coasting trend: To entice workers, businesses are shelling out upfront bonuses. “So what it means is the employees come to work. And the restaurant industry in particular, it can be a tough place to work. It’s very demanding. And as individuals that haven’t necessarily worked in that industry before realize that, they realize they may not want to work in that particular job for very long, so they coast along through the onboarding process and training process, if you will, for a few days. And then they just ghost the employer and don’t show up. And I’m hearing this from multiple contacts. Again, not just in the restaurant industry, but I hear it in manufacturing as well.”

To be fair, many workers say that they’re walking away from their jobs for valid reasons. These, largely service and customer-facing workers, are subjected to rude and insulting patrons, placed in the uncomfortable position of enforcing the new covid-related restrictions, low pay, poor training, bad bosses and concerns of catching the disease.

Ironically, this trend may help people who want a bridge-job to make ends meet until they find an appropriate full time position.

Unemployment Benefits Ended And Nothing Changed

It was believed that the federal government enhanced unemployment checks and other other benefits served as a disincentive for people to go back to work. Once the extra entitlements were lifted, it was presumed that the hiring would increase. It turns out that states that ended COVID unemployment benefits did not see a boost in job growth.

In August, U.S. job growth was hit the hardest in states that stopped the enhanced  unemployment benefits. New Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the group of mostly Republican led states that decided to drop the extra $300 weekly unemployment benefit over the summer added less than half the pace of states that retained the benefits. This may be also due in part to the effects of the Delta variant.

Goldman Sachs, the top New York-based investment bank, contends that this trend may change. Research analysts at the bank say that by looking at the data, the end of the payments did increase the probability of someone moving from unemployment to a job. While it may take some time, Goldman anticipates that the expiration of the extra unemployment insurance could lead to the addition of an extra 1.3 million jobs by the end of the year.

Overtime And Burnout

Companies that are having trouble enticing workers to join their businesses, are trying a new tactic. They are pushing their staff to put in massive overtime, coming into work early and staying late. With the current staff working longer hours, the company won’t need to hire as many new people.

Target, the big-box retail chain, said it will “trim back seasonal hires and give more hours to existing employees.” The retail giant plans for it’s roughly 300,000 workers to put in around five million more hours during the holiday season, according to reporting from CNBC. This amounts to over seventy five million in extra pay.

This is also happening with a large array of restaurants, bars and other businesses. It’s nice to see larger paychecks for the workers, but it could also burn them out. After a while, working such long hours for not great pay, it’s expected that many will join the great resignation trend and quit.

 

The Delta Variant Is Screwing Up Return To Work Plans

For a brief moment in time it felt like we were exiting the pandemic. Then the Delta variant emerged. Companies were forced to push back their return-to-office plans. As the new strain surged, major corporations including Google, Microsoft and Amazon moved their returning date to January, 2022.

A large majority of workers want remote work. If they feel pressured to go back to headquarters, a hybrid schedule of two or so days in the office is preferred. As human resources and management attempt to navigate the logistics of overseeing tens of thousands of employees, the attention is diverted away from hiring. Businesses are paying more attention to how they can retain their current personnel before bringing new people onboard.

A Stock Market Shock

The stock market has been making new record highs during the pandemic. The rise in stock and real estate created a wealth effect. This made people feel optimistic. Looking at the value of their portfolio and their home prices on Zillow, families felt comfortable spending money, which stimulated the economy.

Valuations have been stretched higher than ever before. Economists predicted that we are overdue for a correction in the stock market. The market lost around one thousand points when a China-based real estate company looked like it would go bankrupt. Friday, the Chinese government called for a ban on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies claiming that they are illegal. The digital asset tumbled on the news. Seasonally, September has been one of the worst months for stocks and it’s due for a significant pullback. A stock market correction or crash would spook companies, instill fear, and hiring would hit a brick wall.

 

What You Should Do Now

Think of your career as a long race and not a sprint. If you are currently happy with your job and company, don’t feel the pressure to partake in the Great Resignation. However, you could keep an eye open for interesting, exciting  new opportunities. There’s no harm in getting in touch with recruiters who will let you know if a perfect role opens up and do a little networking to see if anyone has some good ideas or leads on a perfect job.

If you want a new job in the new year, start searching. Since we’re in a new era, you should ask a lot of questions during the interview process. Ensure that you have a solid  understanding of the role and the way you’ll work. Inquire about remote, hybrid, a four-day workweek, five-hour days or flexible staggered hours. If you desire a remote role, be careful. You don’t want to get paid less compared to an in-office peer. It’s smart to feel out if work-from-homers are discriminated against and treated like second-class citizens.



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