The future isn’t bright for senior job seekers

It is March 2020. The financial year will end in four weeks. On certain fronts things are not rosy. It’s time for appraisals in some places. Job searches are on in full swing.

I do not often write about gloom. But there is a sense of worry on the job front. An uneasy situation has been prevailing for a few months. I get a dozen CVs a month with people who have left jobs looking for a new one. These are currently unemployed people in corporate communications and public relations. There is a dearth of entry-level talent but at middle to senior levels there is excess supply and fewer high paying jobs. Few companies that paid handsome salaries to attract talent did two things. They created a precedent for others who aspired for pay checks and they made other companies also look at hiring senior talent at premium packages. 

The following has happened. When some of these (two dozen) senior people who commanded a hefty pay-check moved on or lost their job either due to cost cutting measures of lack of performance the replacements that are being sought out are not being offered similar packages. Similarly, some of these people who have not found a job before their last day are finding the job hunt harder both in terms of attracting an offer and commanding a similar salary that they drew in the past. The fat pay-check era was a limited edition one. Negotiating while being jobless is tough. 

So, in the process these individuals are either starting a one man or woman company to offer a service or two to a friendly corporate in content creation or crisis mitigation. A tiny PR firm is emerging which in the process is negatively disrupting the market. Clients say I can get this job done at half the price in comparison to what they pay the PR firm. All this is fair one may say but the upheaval is huge. 

Something needs to happen. There is no formal body of in-house professionals. I have asked a group of corporate communication professionals if they need help starting one, but they feel otherwise. This group with a secretariat can help in many ways. Ensure salary correction, set right expectations, mentor younger professionals to understand how life without greed any day is better and to help in mental well-being. 

I meet people who have misplaced salary expectations. There is desperation setting in. And there is a real cause of concern. I do not have a solution. I’m just holding a mirror and requesting people who can relate to such a situation to look at the way forward through the lens of not having expectations. 

Just because you landed a job when times were better at a princely sum of Rs 50 lakh or more while still under 40 do not expect the same bull run to continue. If your next job pays you less, it is ok to eat humble pie. Take that job. Because a bird in hand is better than two in the bush.

Don’t assume that there are many 1 crore per annum jobs. There are a couple of dozens of those and those organisations won’t offer that package to everyone. They are picky and choosy about who deserves that six-figure salary and who doesn’t.

Lastly, don’t take your current job for granted and splurge on a lavish house or a fancy car. That EMI will bite when the salary gets downgraded. It’s better to procrastinate luxury than to drown in it. Work very hard to protect the job you have because sooner or later someone younger will take it away because he or she is less expensive.

Let us hope the situation gets better in the new financial year.  

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Amith Prabhu
Amith Prabhu is the Founder of the PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS, India’s annual summit of reputation management professionals.

He is also the Founding Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

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