Ease of switching jobs and negotiating job offers

This is a three part poll. First, mark if you are a highly skilled, skilled, semi-skilled, or unskilled worker. Second, mark if it is easy, or fairly easy to get another job or if it’s difficult. Third, when it comes to the work done, the hours worked, and compensation, please mark if you are able to negotiate none, one, two, or all three items when applying for a job.

When it comes to people’s jobs there are two things which I hear from time to time.

  1. If you don’t like where you’re at or there is a problem, just get another job.
  2. The act of gaining employment is a negotiation.

With respect to the first point, there are plenty of people, and I was one of them, who are stuck in their job and it’s incredibly difficult, if not almost impossible to get another one. Now of course technically anybody can find another job, but I’m talking about finding a job where you earn enough to pay the bills.

Second, with the possible exception of compensation, I and most people I know have never been able to negotiate anything. Usually an interview goes like this:
Interviewer, “So, this is the job, these are the hours, and this is the pay. Do you accept these terms?”
Outcome number 1:
Interviewee, “Yes I do.”
Interviewer, “Great. I have 20 more people to interview, so I’ll get back to you in two to three weeks.”
Outcome number 2
Interviewee, “No I don’t.”
Interviewer, “OK then, we’ll keep your resume on file and let you know if when we have another opening.”

Now of course a big factor is how skilled and in demand you are. Obviously the more highly skilled you are, the easier it is to get another job and the more you are able to negotiate.

From the way people talk about job opportunities and negotiating I have a feeling that the board is mostly comprised of skilled and highly skilled people. But rather than guess, I thought I’d make a poll.

As for me, in the two areas of employment that I seek, I would consider myself semi-skilled. I have training, but not that much experience. That means, that in this economy I haven’t been able to find a job in the first place, let alone switching jobs if I have a problem. And as for negotiation; in my past jobs I’ve never been able to negotiate anything. After getting my degree and a certification I thought things would change, but in this economy if I can find a job that pays the bills then I’ll take it and worry about negotiations in the future.

I’ve actually become pretty skilled in finding a job. Lost my job of 4 years 2 years ago almost to the day (actually St Pattys day). Had 2 offers within 3 months for the same amount of money (more). Laid off from that job about a year later and found my current, much better job for more money within about 3-4 months.

I can only really negotiate salary. Since I work in a professional services firm, hours and work are largely decided by the sort of projects I work on. But pretty much as long as I am generating revenue either through sales or chargeable work, I can work on whatever I please.

I think the idea of “negotiation” might be a little too limited for some of this. Aside from salary, a lot of these factors are just dictated by the nature of the job.

For example, in every job I’ve had since college, I can pretty much come and go whenever I want as long as I get my work done (and make it into any meetings I might have). I think that is, for all intents and purposes, better than being able to negotiate my hours at the time I was hired. Obviously, only a certain type of job offers that flexibility. But from a practical standpoint, if you’re interested in having a say in what your hours are, you’re probably better off trying to find that kind of job than going after a more structured job and then negotiating the hours.

Similarly, I have a large amount of control over what work I do, how I do it, how I prioritize it, etc. But that is really just the kind of job I have – it has nothing to do with negotiation. I think I’m a pretty good negotiator in general, but I doubt I’d be able to talk myself into either of those situations if the job was designed to be restrictive.

Good point. It’s just that I’ve heard some people describe the relationship between employers and employees as a negotiation, and as I said, I’ve never been able to negotiate anything so I am just curious as to whether more people can or can’t negotiate, and if they can, how much negotiating power they have.