Experts wanted: $10 an hour

| Saturday, April 10, 2010
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Regular readers of this blog know that I recently took an early retirement buyout from my employer. But darned if that mortgage and those college tuition bills didn't go away with my job, so I've been looking for new work.

It's been an enlightening experience. Having written widely about Michigan's economy over the past couple of decades, I know the job market is, to say the least, tough. And I was warned by a job counselor to expect a new job to pay 30 percent less than I was making in my old one.

Still, the advertised pay rates of some of the job postings I've seen are startling low. Some are enough to make you laugh after you stop crying.

There was communications job at a Southeast Michigan university that required a bachelor's degree (master's preferred) and had a list of  job duties that was longer than my tally of monthly bills. The job paid "up to the mid-$30,000s."

And then there was this one posted by a Michigan company:

Internet marketing firm seeks a social media expert who will be responsible for training, planning and implementing proactive communications with the public through press releases, blog posts, and relevant social media platforms (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter & YouTube). Must have the ability to represent (name of employer) and our clients in such a way as to build up our reputations and promote market awareness of us. Must be willing to keep up on all current social media technologies and trends. Must be proficient in all computer and web related technologies.

So this company is looking for a "social media expert" who is "proficient in all computer and web related technologies"? What must a job requiring all those skills pay?

$10 to $15 an hour.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rick, absolutely. We are in a whole new era of high expectations and lower wages. It looks like the occasional comment I used to hear, which went "this is the first generation that can expect a lower standard of living than their parents" might actually be coming true before our eyes. But, it also seems clear that this is essentially the result of market forces, supply and demand curves. There are too few jobs and way too many applicants for an organization to conscience paying more than the market-determined wage. In the examples you list, the fact is that that Internet marketing firm and that SW Mich. university WILL find qualified people to do those jobs. For experience, there are many people in the market willing to work essentially for FREE to gain experience in those fields and many others -- and in some cases, they're STILL not getting the positions. Too few jobs, vastly too many applicants. The real, high salaries don't seem to kick in until applicants have a much, much higher technical skill set than might have been the case a decade ago. It used to be enough to know how to use computers to accomplish tasks; now the high salaries don't come in until you can actually program or set up the computers to do something that can't be done by "users." The whole skills base has ratcheted up two notches from where I thought it was. Not just in Michigan, but we suffer from the "too few jobs" in a way that many other states don't, given our relatively high population.

Mark T-K

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