Salaries Are Growing. Do Your Job Postings Offer Enough?

To attract the right talent and thrive in a tight hiring market, employers may need to increase salaries on digital learning job postings.

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It seems like the world is plastered with Now Hiring signs. Yet finding candidates is harder than ever. Headlines across the internet scream about the Great Resignation, the shortage of workers, and how just about every industry seems to have hiring woes. Digital learning is no exception. If you’ve put out a job posting sometime in the last 18 months, you’ve probably experienced the struggle first hand.

In most cases, it’s not that candidates don’t exist. The problem is the mismatch between what they need and want, and what companies are willing to offer. This disconnect is especially problematic when it comes to salary. Today’s candidates expect higher wages, and for good reason.

Why You Need to Raise Digital Learning Salaries

Candidates didn’t just wake up one morning and decide they needed higher salaries. Market forces have pushed power into the hands of the job seeker. The first wave of the pandemic caused a flood of uncertainty. Established employment structures fell with the tide.

“There’s labor shortages and inflation, there has to be a reckoning and a new level setting,” said Teamed Founder Ashley Lonie.

The annual inflation rate hit 6.8% in November of 2021. That’s the highest rate since June of 1982. Unsurprisingly, the cost of living increased as well. So much so that when Social Security introduced a 6% cost of living increase, some analysts worried it wouldn’t be enough. So the 3% average salary increase we saw in 2021 didn’t even come close to keeping up with inflation.

And then there’s the labor shortage. Pundits and employers each have a range of explanations for why the labor shortage is happening. They run the gamut from “people just don’t want to work” to “nobody wants to get sick” to “workers are reassessing their priorities.” The truth is likely to be a combination of factors. Whatever the root cause, low salaries certainly aren’t helping.

A headline from The Guardian summarized the situation this way: “US wages are going up, and those who don’t adapt to the new reality will fail”

What’s Happening in Digital Learning

The situation in digital learning mirrors what’s going on in the rest of the talent market, with a few complicating factors. Many of the roles in digital learning require specialized skill sets. For example, an instructional technologist needs expertise in both technology and learning theory. They’ve always been in high demand, but the boom in digital learning has meant they can command higher salaries and more flexible work arrangements.

Overall, more companies and educational organizations are embracing digital learning as a result of pandemic necessity. Few (if any) will return to an in-person only model when the current crisis is over. That means, in the midst of a general talent shortage and wage crisis, the demand for talent to fill digital learning roles is growing.

Refusing to Raise Salaries Puts Your Whole Team at Risk

Clinging to pre-2020 salary bands doesn’t just hobble your candidate search. It puts your whole team at risk. Economists expect the current pace of quitting and hiring to continue well into 2022 and maybe beyond. Your current employees may start wondering if they can get a better compensation package somewhere else.

This is especially true if they’re overworked and understaffed. Perhaps because you can’t hire enough people to fill the increased demand. And demand for digital learning is almost certain to remain strong as remote work and online experiences become ever more commonplace.

If you can’t or won’t raise salaries enough to at least keep pace with inflation, you might lose more than a candidate. Your whole team could collapse.

If You Absolutely Can’t Raise Wages

You might be frustrated at this point, because you know there’s a problem but don’t have the power to fix it. Your budget was set by committee two years ago, you’re a bootstrapped startup, or the executive team just doesn’t see the problem. There is still hope.

Raising wages is the ideal response, but there are other things you can do to attract quality candidates. First, and most obviously, you can offer something else. Remote work, or at least the opportunity for some remote work, is becoming the standard in many digital jobs. If it’s possible for your team, do it.

Benefits can also offset lower salaries, but only if they’re the benefits that employees actually want. Casual Friday and free parking isn’t going to cut it. Paid time off, paid family leave, and health benefits are among the most coveted non-insurance benefits.

You also might need to adjust your expectations. Consider hiring new graduates you can train in the position. Take on an intern and help them build experience. Bring in contractors to fill gaps or address seasonal demands. Also, don’t discount folks in transition. Many teachers and other professionals are looking for opportunities to apply their skills in a new industry.

Be Up Front In Your Job Post

Most importantly, whether you can raise wages or not, be up-front in your job postings. Don’t talk about competitive pay if you can’t offer it. Better yet, include your payscale in your job post. This kind of transparency saves everyone’s time. The only thing worse than not finding candidates, is investing time and resources into making an offer that will only be refused on the basis of pay.

The digital learning talent landscape is evolving rapidly. Teamed can help you navigate it. Whether you’re a digital learning expert looking for your next role, a teacher in transition, or an employer seeking qualified talent, we can help. Contact us today.

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