Inflation Diaries: Why 'Rising Costs' and 'Stagnant Wages' Are Impacting Workers' Career Decisions

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Jessica Howington for FlexJobs
Jessica Howington for FlexJobs
The current economic environment is bound to affect the workforce. With rising costs and stagnant wages in comparison, many job seekers are concerned about their prospects and what the future holds. And FlexJobs' latest data backs up these sentiments.
Between July 13, 2022, and July 31, 2022, FlexJobs’ Career Pulse 2022 Survey looked at the job seeker and job market confidence of over 4,000 professionals. In an overwhelming response, 80% of survey participants reported inflation as impacting their career decisions. This included decisions about whether to look for a new job with a higher salary or trying to negotiate with their employer for a higher salary.

Inflation and Recession Worries Causing Impact on Careers

With the economy at the forefront of job seekers’ minds, it’s not surprising to see that inflation and recession worries are playing into job searching. In fact, one-third of survey respondents cited inflation as being a huge factor in their career decisions, while 46% said it is either a factor or a small factor. That leaves 17% of respondents stating that inflation is not impacting their career decisions and 3% unsure.
Looking to the future and in relation to recession worries, 73% of respondents cited concerns about a recession impacting their career decisions. However, at this time, the fear of a recession has a less severe impact than inflationary pressures.

Job Seeker Confidence Trending Down

With pressure being felt economically, it has translated into other impacts on the job market. Many respondents are feeling less confident in their job search in regards to finding a new job, and 44% believe it will be harder to find a remote job in the next year. Additionally, confidence surrounding the ability to negotiate salary and/or benefits is cooling.
Specifically, when asked how confident they are in their ability to find a new job right now, the majority are only somewhat confident:
  • Extremely confident (12%)
  • Very confident (26%)
  • Somewhat confident (45%)
  • Not confident at all (17%)
Additionally, confidence in the ability to negotiate salary and benefits is fairly low, with most respondents only being somewhat confident:
  • Extremely confident (10%)
  • Very confident (28%)
  • Somewhat confident (43%)
  • Not confident at all (19%)

Job Seekers Experiencing Layoffs and Regrets

Inflation and fears of a recession aren’t the only worries job seekers have been experiencing. Of the survey respondents, 43% have noted it has taken them more time to find a job in the past year versus previous job searches they’ve embarked on. This is coupled with a heightened concern of job scams, with 37% being very concerned compared to 29% a year ago.
Additionally, layoffs and rescinded job offers are impacting the outlook job seekers have on career movement and decisions. Since April 2022, 25% of participants have either been laid off or know someone who has lost their job. And in regards to job offers in the same time period, 18% of survey respondents have had a job offer rescinded or know someone who has had one rescinded.
And for those that have left a job for a new one, regret isn’t entirely uncommon. Of those who have accepted a job offer since the pandemic began, 16% have regretted their decision and another 16% know someone who has accepted a role they regret taking. The top reasons respondents regret their job move:
  • Toxic company culture (28%)
  • Bad boss (26%)
  • Felt disrespected/undervalued (23%)
  • Too stressful (23%)
  • Low or unfair pay (22%)
  • Poor work-life balance (21%)
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This article originally appeared in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.

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