Employees Have More Opportunities — and Bargaining Power — As Labor Shortage Continues

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The conflict of a tight labor market spurred by surging demand and workers holding out for better pay has resulted in a clear winner — employees hold the power for one of the few times in history.

See: How To Approach Your Job Hunt in the Current Market
Learn: Teens Are Taking High Paying Jobs, Filling Employment Gaps Left by Adults During COVID

Companies struggling to attract workers back are desperate to hire new employees as the ongoing effects of the pandemic and difficult access to child care are still largely keeping people at home. This has put people looking for work in the unique position of being able to bargain for — and get — what they want.

Workers have even been able to influence employers into hiring and training them for positions they have no prior experience in. According to labor analytics software maker Burning Glass, the share of employers willing to provide job training to workers was 1.7% last month, the Financial Times reports. This represents a whopping 49% increase compared with the same month in 2019. Less than 1% of openings for utility company technicians stated they were willing to train inexperienced employees in 2019 — now it’s almost 15%, they add.

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The push for higher wages has already been realized in the food and hospitality industry — the sector hardest-hit by the pandemic.

Average weekly wages in leisure and hospitality were up 10.4% in May just from February 2020, according to the Labor Department. This increase outpaced both inflation and the private sector overall. For one of the few times in history, pay for those with only a high school diploma is rising faster than for those with college degrees, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Using data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MoneyCrashers surveyed hundreds of high-paying jobs offered in 2020 and 2021 with high growth potential and little to no experience necessary. They state that, for the most part, the list favors positions with on-site training and faster than average growth potential, meaning that employers are creating these positions faster than the overall job growth rate.

More: Which Job Sectors Have Enjoyed the Fastest Wage Increases?

They highlighted jobs like an Oil and Gas Roustabout, with 25% growth potential and flight attendants with 17% growth potential due to increased demand as a result of the economic recovery. Both positions do not require prior experience and offer on-site training.

The New York Times also recently reported on workers finding opportunities like apprenticeships for companies like IBM — for which they had no prior experience — that eventually turned into full-time tech jobs.

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Read: US Chamber of Commerce Announces Launch of Initiative to Address Worker Shortage
Find: 7 Remote Jobs Gen Z Will Love

The tight labor market presents an incredible opportunity for workers to enter fields they might not have had access to previously, but if you are thinking of taking advantage of this opportunity, you might not want to wait. Goldman Sachs predicts that wages will eventually settle back down some time in the fall as the economy starts getting up to speed, which means that these historically gratuitous offerings could see an end sooner than later.

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Last updated: July 21, 2021

About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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