For Unemployed, Most Job Offers Are 25% Below Previous Salary

Unemployed women less likely to receive job offers; men more likely to receive lower offers

By Stephen Miller Sep 24, 2010

Although many unemployed workers are eager to start earning a paycheck, many have held out for better offers. A survey from Personified, CareerBuilder’s talent consulting arm, shows that 17 percent of unemployed U.S. workers had received at least one job offer since they became unemployed. Of these workers:

92 percent rejected an offered job.

52 percent reported that the pay offered was more than 25 percent below the salary they earned in their most recent position.

The survey, conducted Aug. 4-27, 2010, included 925 unemployed workers nationwide.

Gender Difference

The survey showed that unemployed women were less likely to receive a job offer: 14 percent of unemployed women said they had been offered at least one position during their unemployment vs. 20 percent of unemployed men.

Unemployed men, however, reported a higher incidence of offers falling short of salary expectations: 56 percent of men said the pay offered was more than 25 percent below their previous salary vs. 49 percent of women.

Job Offers Not Paying Off

Insufficient pay was the number one reason unemployed workers turned down a job opportunity. Other factors cited include:

A long commute.

A lower title.

The position being outside of their field.

Little room for career advancement.

A poor hiring process.

“Employers are adding jobs at a gradual but steady pace, and workers are feeling a greater sense of optimism in their job prospects,” said Mary Delaney, president of Personified. “Rather than jumping on the first job offer that comes their way, workers are assessing which opportunities really make the most sense for them in terms of compensation and long-term potential.”

Frequency of Job Search

While finding a job is a full-time job in itself, nearly one-in-five unemployed workers (18 percent) reported they spend five hours or less, on average, searching for a job each week, while 30 percent allocate over 20 hours. In terms of job applications, nearly two-thirds of unemployed workers (62 percent) apply to more than 10 jobs per week on average.

Comparing educational levels, workers with no college degree look more frequently and apply more often to jobs than those with a college diploma. Those with post-graduate degrees are the most aggressive in their job search activity, reporting a higher frequency of looking for jobs and applying to a greater number of jobs than other groups.

Earning level also influenced frequency of job search. Workers who previously earned $100,000 or more reported allocating more time to job search than those in other earning brackets.

Expired Health Insurance

One of the biggest concerns unemployed workers face is the termination of health benefits: 49 percent of all unemployed workers reported that they do not have health insurance. Among workers who have been unemployed for more than a year, the number is 55 percent.

Impact of Extension of Unemployment Benefits

The majority of unemployed workers reported that their job search activity has stayed the same throughout their unemployment. Half (52 percent) do not expect that an extension of unemployment benefits would change their job search strategy. Three in 10 (31 percent) said it would give them more time to find a job that was a better fit for their career goals, while 15 percent stated that an extension would create a greater sense of urgency for them to find a position.

Stephen Miller is an online editor/manager for SHRM.​

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