Are Employees Back in Charge of the Labor Market?

Are Employees Back in Charge of the Labor Market?

After years of employers being able to dictate the terms of employment, there is now increasing evidence that employees are taking charge in the labor market. The first sign of this is the sustained fall in the unemployment rate. What is happening now is that employees are starting to get multiple offers and higher compensation offers to join a company. At Fortune, Anne Fisher highlights a new survey illustrating how this trend is playing out in the market for senior management talent:

The higher up the org chart you go, the longer it usually takes to find a new position, partly just because there are fewer jobs up there. Even so, adding to a trend that began to surface in early 2015, employers are looking to fill more senior management positions, and faster. People earning between $150,000 and $250,000 are now getting hired after a search averaging a little over five months — down from seven months a year ago.

“We’ve also seen more executives with multiple job offers to consider,” says Patricia Siderius, managing director of outplacement at career consultants BPI group. Demand is especially strong for “leaders with experience in change management, and who have the ability to build strong teams.”

They can often command a premium, too. BPI’s latest poll of senior managers at 33 companies across 16 states shows that while almost one-third (30%) said their compensation at their new job is roughly the same as in their old one, more than half (53%) said they’re earning more. Only 17% reported taking a pay cut.

In our most recent global talent monitor report (which CEB members can read here), we find that this trend is playing out across the broader labor market as well. In fact, the average employee is now expecting a 15.4 percent increase in their total rewards when they switch companies. With unemployment down and wages rising, employees are now firmly in control.