Pay Cuts Like a (Butter) Knife

According to a recent CollegeRecruiter survey of 1,000 college students and recent graduates, "most" job seekers are willing to accept a job offer even if the pay-per-hour for the new job is less than at their previous job. But just barely.

The news release CollegeRecruiter distributed to announce the survey's finding is slightly misleading -- 49 percent won't accept a pay cut. Despite the downturn and the tight labor market, the findings indicate that while 51 percent of respondents would work for less, potential hires aren't as desperate as we might think.

  • 21 percent would accept a pay cut of between one and nine percent
  • 18 percent would accept a pay cut of between 10 and 24 percent
  • Only 6 percent would accept a pay cut of between 25 and 49 percent
  • Only 6 percent would accept a pay cut of 50 percent or more.

The clincher isn't that job seekers will take less pay to play, but that the overall bargaining power of new recruits isn't what it once was. "We've seen a real decrease in the number of employers actively recruiting students and recent graduates," says Steven Rothberg, president and founder of CollegeRecruiter. "As a result, they recognize that their bargaining power has been reduced. There is a good chance that their pay will be also."

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