Photo: Lindsay Pollack
High unemployment and fierce competition has made it difficult for recent grads to know exactly what they’ll face when they enter the workforce. “There’s so much information that it can be overwhelming,” Gen Y career expert Lindsey Pollak, who wrote the book “Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World,” told us.
“When that happens, I think a lot of young people ignore it and they get frustrated that they’re not familiar with things. They feel a little angry that they aren’t prepared for these ‘real-life things’ that come at them when getting a new job.”
And one of the frustrations that recent graduates may have comes down to their compensation. When you’re entering the workforce, you’re not familiar with how much you’re worth and may not know where to turn to for assistance to get a better idea.
Pollak, who is the spokesperson for The Hartford, a financial service group, told us that the company has launched a “My Tomorrow Campaign” aimed at helping young people make smart decisions when it comes to their salary packages, which includes benefits and compensations.
Since compensation is often a taboo topic to discuss in the workplace, it can be difficult for someone new to the job force to know what they’re worth and how they compare to everyone else.
“Compensation has a a lot fear around it particularly if you don’t have a lot of experience with negotiations or talking about money so what I often tell students or recent graduates is that it’s something you have to prepare for,” Pollak said. “[You need to know] what ranges are common in particular industries, companies…regions of the country or the world also come into play.”
“And you really need to know where to start. Do that research then think about the experience you have and decide whether you’re on the top or middle of that range,” she said. “Industry web sites can give also you benchmark of what’s common in a field.”
When you decide on a salary number, Pollak advised to “practice, practice, practice saying that number” so that you can be comfortable and confident when you ask for it in a business setting.
If you do take a job and realise that it’s not what you imagined or wanted — which happens often with first jobs — Pollak said that this is “an education thing” that young people have to deal with and decide for themselves what it is that they want and don’t want in a job.
Furthermore, young workers also need to be aware of how most people view them in the workplace.
“One of the challenges that I hear from a lot of employers is that Millennials act entitled, so they seem like they should be in really important meetings from day one, or they think they should be able to negotiate their salary from the first paycheck or they should be able to go on vacation during the second day of work.”
“A lot of young people just aren’t used to the work environment yet,” Pollak said. “You have to have some respect for your employer, for your boss, and you really have to realise that you have to pay some dues.”
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