A cursory glance at any job board implies that companies are desperate for workers. New listings appear daily for positions spanning multiple industries.
But some job seekers claim the market isn’t as healthy as it appears. Many say they’ve applied to every position available yet still can’t find work.
Looking for Work
One user came to Reddit’s popular antiwork community complaining about the state of today’s job market.
They said they’ve applied for everything from retail work to contract jobs, using every resource available, from recruiters to job boards.
They’d accept full-time, part-time, and even temporary work but can’t find anything.
“Whats next for me?” they asked the community, hoping for some answers on how to find a job.
Worker’s Skills vs. Company Expectations
One user replied, saying there’s a disconnect between worker qualifications and what a company expects.
“Companies are screaming for people. People apply, but because they don’t have a Ph.D., 30 years experience, an Olympic gold medal, and willing to work $1 above minimum wage, they don’t want to know,” snarked one user, implying that many companies expect far too much from workers.
What Even is Entry Level?
Some companies will post a listing as “entry-level” but expect any potential employee to have multiple years of experience.
“Entry-level roles shouldn’t require 2-3 years of experience. On the flip side, If I had 2-3 years of experience, I wouldn’t be applying for a level 1 position,” stated one user.
It seems like many companies use the term entry-level to mean they will pay entry-level wages, despite wanting someone who’s well beyond entry-level in their career.
What Labor Shortage?
Many will point to the news, claiming a labor shortage because many industries can’t fill positions. However, that’s only half the truth.
It’s not that there’s a labor shortage. There’s a wage shortage.
Many people are willing and able to work but refuse to do so for the paltry wages many companies offer. They’d rather hustle with side gigs and pack into small apartments than deal with a toxic job that still doesn’t pay enough to survive.
Tired of the Circus
Many users expressed frustration at the hiring circus. After rounds of interviews, they finally get an offer that’s drastically different than advertised. The wages always mysteriously come in lower than the advertised listing, and every listing that claims it’s remote is a full-time in-office position.
Potential workers are tired of wasting hours applying and interviewing only to be caught in a bait and switch when they finally “prove their worth” to the hiring manager.
Are Companies Really Hiring?
Though the job boards remain full, many suspect hiring managers aren’t being honest. They apply for positions, hear nothing, and see a brand new listing for the exact opening weeks later.
Do companies really want to fill these positions, or is there some incentive to list jobs they have no intention of filling?
A Recession is Coming
Many look a the current market and predict a downturn. The unfilled positions, difficulty finding work, and stricter hiring requirements all point towards that eventuality.
All the recent layoffs in the news also point toward a recession. It’s likely we’re already in the beginning stages, but the government is doing its best to forestall the worst consequences.
What To Do?
The tenuous situation leaves many wondering what to do.
Continuing to apply is the first step. Merely finding a job, any job, can help you gain experience and keep yourself afloat while you continue the job search.
People also turn to side gigs to fill the gap. Uber Eats, Rover, TaskRabbit, and other apps help people keep their heads above water while navigating the treacherous waters of the job market.
Others turn toward entrepreneurship. They start blogs, Youtube Channels, Etsy stores, and other creative endeavors to make their own money so they can opt out of the vicious job market.
Surviving in the Meantime
In the meantime, many folks find a precarious balance. They live with roommates, cut out all non-essential spending, and survive on rice and beans.
Food banks are busier than ever, as more and more people rely on charity to eat.
The tenuous situation won’t last forever. Something has to change at some point, and we can only hope it’s for the better.