This Is How Much Workers Demand for a New Job

By: James Flippin · August 23, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Inflated Expectations

The average job seeker’s reservation wage — the lowest salary they’d accept in order to take on a new job — just hit a record. The so-called reservation wage stood at $78,645 in July, up nearly 8% from last year, according to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York .

Summer of Strikes

Consumers have been dealing with persistently high inflation, which hit a four-decade-high of 9.1% in June 2022.

While the rate of inflation has since moderated to just 3.2% in July, prices have remained high. To compensate for costlier groceries, rent, and overall cost of living, workers demand higher wages from employers.

These factors have also led to heightened tensions between unions and employers. Logistics companies FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS), air carriers United Airlines (UAL) and American Airlines (AA), as well as major Hollywood studios have all seen contentious contract negotiations with their respective unions over the past few months.

Navigating the Job Market

As a result, the average full-time job offer price tag jumped to $69,475 in the past year — a 14% increase year-over-year. That said, it remains almost $10,000 below the average worker’s preferred pay. Digging deeper, men demand a wage floor of $98,644 on average, while women demand just $66,068.

While the demand for higher wages is growing, the number of job seekers has declined by over 20% in the past year, reflecting the shortage of qualified personnel companies have been struggling with. The likelihood of switching jobs dipped as well.

Eight states have now passed salary transparency laws, including New York, California, and Colorado. So there’s never been a better time to set your salary expectations in-line with reality — or to use that reality to demand your worth.

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