Power dynamic may have "tilted a bit" toward employees, economist says

·2 min read

Workers may be gaining more bargaining power over potential employers as businesses struggle to fill open positions, LinkedIn's chief economist Karin Kimbrough said Monday.

"We've seen a surge in employers looking to bring on new workers. At the same time, maybe the job seekers haven't responded at the same pace. I don't think there's a shortage of workers, I think workers are still navigating a lot of the aftereffects of the shutdown," Kimbrough told CBSN anchor Lana Zak during the special "Employment in America: A Shifting Workforce."

Kimbrough said some workers may not have child care or still perceive the risk of returning to work as being too high for the wages offered.

"There's always a negotiation or a power dynamic between employers and employees. It is definitely the case that it might have tilted a bit in favor of the employees at this moment because we're seeing this surge of job openings," she said. "We're seeing it across lots of different industries."

U.S. employers added nearly 600,000 jobs in May and unemployment dropped to 5.8%, the lowest rate since the start of pandemic shutdowns in March 2020. Even so, there are still 7.6 million more unemployed workers than before the pandemic.

Businesses, especially those that pay lower wages, have reported having trouble filling job openings. A recent Federal Reserve analysis found that some businesses were offering higher wages in response.

"Employers are realizing that the sands have shifted just a little bit at this moment in time," Kimbrough said.

She said some employers are offering job candidates more flexibility as an enticement, such as remote work or a more flexible schedule. She also said employers are being more open to candidates who can demonstrate necessary skills versus those who meet education requirements.

"They're much more open to looking for a viable candidate who can demonstrate the skills as opposed to just checking boxes," she said.

Irina Ivanova contributed reporting.

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