A Good Year to Get a Great Job

Posted by Ed Frauenheim on January 16 2015

Set your sights high this year. Find a workplace that pays the bills, lets you have a life and feeds your soul.

One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to get a better job. This is a particularly good year to follow through on that goal.

The U.S. economy is picking up. The rapid growth of the 3rd quarter of 2014 may not continue, but growth is expected to persist into 2015. That means more options for job seekers. The unemployment rate fell from 7 percent in Nov.  2013 to 5.8 percent in Nov. 2014, and there have been job gains recently in professional and business services, retail trade, health care and manufacturing.

A new job alone isn’t great, however. People want a better job. And that generally translates into one that pays better, given that wages have been stagnant for many workers for decades. Tighter labor markets can give workers more bargaining power.

But money isn’t everything. One of the most hopeful signs is the attention companies and workers alike are giving to great workplace cultures, where decent pay is just part of the equation. Organizations are more aware of the importance of a climate characterized by trust, camaraderie and pride in part because of growing evidence that an excellent culture pays off in a better bottom line.

Job seekers, meanwhile, are expecting more of their workplace for a number of reasons. The detrimental effects of stress on health and wellbeing are clearer than ever, and more and more people are determined to work in a way that doesn’t shave years off their lives. Millennials, having grown up seeing hard-working parents laid off in the 80s, 90s and 00s, are particularly focused on preserving a work-life balance. Young workers also are keen on finding a job that makes a positive difference in the world..

Finally, Millennials and workers of all ages now have tools to give them insights into company cultures. Finding the right fit in the past was often something of a crapshoot. Candidates had to rely on anecdotes from a friend or acquaintance or on an overall reputation, making it hard to really know what it was like to work at a company beyond the experience of one or two people or the effectiveness of a company’s marketing campaigns. Now there are more resources to get the inside scoop. These include the reviews here at Great Rated, which are based on surveys of a representative sample of a company’s employees. And to help job seekers in particular fields, we have begun providing industry-based rankings of stand-out employers, like our lists of Great Workplaces in Technology and Retail.

In other words, just as people have had Consumer Reports or TripAdvisor or CNET to help them make other big decisions, they can now make more informed choices about where they want to work.

So set your sights high this year. Find an employer that pays the bills, lets you have a life and feeds your soul. Get to a great workplace in 2015.