When’s the last time you heard of a millennial friend or relative getting a raise or a promotion in their current job, excluding a new degree or new job? Almost never, right? Employers rarely give raises anymore, outside perhaps a standard cost-of-living adjustment. If we want a new opportunity, we’re told we need a new degree or certification. Most often, we have to switch jobs.Job hopping is often the only way for us to move ahead. I know friends who are waiting a backlog of managers or supervisors who (might) retire in 5-10 years. The choice is clear: wait out a long retirement or force their hand by getting a different job.
The main topic of this article was not about raises but about pastors and churches. But the comment above from a millennial got my attention. Job hopping did occur in my world but it was usually the exception rather than the rule for at least the first two-thirds of my career. To hear that today’s crop of workers deem it a necessity in order to get a raise kind of shocked me.
I know the statistics bear out the fact that people don’t get raises anymore. The middle class of which most of us relish to be in has been shrinking since the Reagan years of trickle down mentality. When employees became liabilities to be shed instead of assets to be pampered, raises basically disappeared. They say that the average person will change jobs every seven years now.
Of course there will still be those entrepreneurs who will manage to find just that right thing to bring to market at just the right time. More power to them but we must realize that they make up a very thin slice of today’s workforce. We hear the mantra that small business is the backbone of our nation but small businesses employ much less than half the nation’s workforce. The vast majority, as in the past, are in jobs with major corporations and those corporations have deemed it unnecessary to give their workers a slice of their ever increasing profits.
Some consider it a chicken/egg thing but living through this corporate change it isn’t to me. The logic goes something like this. Corporations don’t give raises to their employees because the employees are not loyal to those who pay their salaries. My peak earning years were in the 1970s through the 1980s and I saw a definite change in corporate mentality over that period of time. For the first half of my work life I was a proud employee of AT&T. I, and most of my co-workers were very loyal to the company. We all had a pretty strong healthcare plan and received a slice of the profits we generated. In years when the corporation made lower profits we willingly got smaller raises. We were loyal to our company.
Then came 1980 where very conservative Republican started his presidency by firing all members of a national union and it continued to get worse from there. Employee loyalty evaporated over that decade due to a basic change in corporate mentality and that change continues to today. Is it possible to get back any level of the trust lost during those decades? Probably not….. and that is truly sad…..