Is working a privilege or right?
In recent months, there has been a paradigm shift in the employment sector. This is especially evident in the United States of America where there is a sudden shortage of workers.
As of November 2021, the unemployment rate in the United States was reported to be 4.6%. This number, at face value, is commendable. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks anyone over the age of 16, who does not have a job and is actively looking for work. What this number fails to reflect are the persons who have stopped seeking employment, those in low-wage jobs and in part-time jobs.
Given this apparent, low unemployment number, it confuses many as to why there has been a recent personnel shortage. It has been widely publicized that many key sectors are struggling to find workers. Companies are desperate for help; they are offering incentives to potential hires. One example is the trucking industry. Normally, companies require two years of long-haul driving experience before offering local work. Now, the same companies are offering local routes to drivers immediately out of driving school. Many of these jobs pay twenty-six dollars per hour. Not bad for a rookie driver. U.S. Foods has even offered a twenty-five thousand dollar signing bonus.
In another sector, American Airlines is offering their flight attendants up to triple the base salary for holiday trips (if they have perfect attendance). Southwest Airlines has also offered their flight attendants double pay to ensure more of them work during peak times.
It is not uncommon to see neighborhood eateries closing early due to a lack of employees. A major shipping company, where full-time employment was once coveted, now finds itself operating with mostly part-time workers in several of their stations. Full-time jobs are being offered but the applicants are few.
It is obvious that many persons are not in a hurry to be employed. At least not be employed by major employers and certainly not full-time. So, where have they all gone?
Since the passing of the American Rescue Plan Act in March of 2021, more than 391 billion dollars has been paid to American households. These stimulus payments have given many people options. Some have decided to utilize this additional influx of money to start their own businesses. Others have opted to take a hiatus from work and collect money while staying home. But there are those who received these funds and remain employed.
The shipping delays, shortage of goods in stores, and overall logistics nightmare at U.S ports of entry show that consumers are buying faster than factories can produce. This indicator shows that pockets are lined with cash.
With their newfound, though temporary wealth, those who remain engaged in their careers now see their employers in a different light. Some of them see their employers as desperate for help and thus have adopted the attitude that they should now create the rules at work. This can be seen in the number of persons who have quit their jobs after being told that they need to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 as a condition of employment. In a struggling economy, it would not be so easy to walk away from your sole source of income.
We have learned that working from home is possible and asking employees to return to their offices is seen as an act of tyranny. We want to now dictate where we work and when we work. The audacity of these employers. Don’t they know we are now financially stable and can’t be told what to do? Amazon is capitalizing on this new breed of workers. In a recent television ad, they show individuals who are advising that they can only work on certain days and times. Amazon is showing that they are willing to accommodate them. Will this be the new trend? Will we soon be able to customize our jobs? Money has indeed changed us.