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Only one generation of workers doesn't list pay as the top priority

Many may just be changing jobs. But who is hiring? And who is paying more?

TEXAS, USA — Congratulations are in order because so many Texans ‘got the job’. We have data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the first four months of the year, and Texas led the country in the number of new hires: 2,428,000 of them. 

And perhaps more congratulations are called for because many Texans have ‘quit the job’. In the first third of the year, Texas led the country in quitters: 1,576,000 of them. It could be that a lot of people are leaving their current positions for better-paying ones. 

Who is hiring? And who is paying?

When it comes to raises, your employer might give you some increases. But it’s often likely that a new employer might be willing to pay you more. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta tracks who makes more–switchers or stayers. 

Job switchers (the orange line on the chart) usually do better than the stayers (the green line on the chart). But if you look at the differences between the two historically, at the end of last year and into this year we’re seeing a wider discrepancy between how much more pay workers are getting by switching rather than staying.

But an interesting thing for new hires or people who are still looking. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that (generally) in Texas, the bigger the company—the bigger the average weekly paycheck.

However, before you start applying with big corporate, consider this: Last month’s blockbuster U.S. private employment report showed 497,000 jobs were added. But a breakdown of those jobs showed that smaller and medium-sized companies were expanding. The biggest employers were not.

What is more important: Flexibility or pay?

Which is the bigger priority, pay or flexibility on the job? How you answer may depend on which generation you are in. A recent survey by Robert Half Talent Solutions found that Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers all listed competitive compensation and regular merit increases as their number one job consideration. 

Generation Z ranked that in third place, behind a workplace with a positive culture and team dynamic. And their top priority was flexibility regarding when and where they work. 

Certainly, money isn’t everything. But some younger workers may want to review the chart here, which tracks two theoretical employees. One negotiated a moderately higher salary at the beginning and more modestly higher incremental increases every several years after that than the other employee. 

By the time they reached retirement age, the one who focused more on the pay was making about $50,000 more per year. And over their entire career, the pay-focused employee would have made $1.06 million more than the fictional non-negotiator.

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