As the country continues to recover from the pandemic, employed Americans are gaining confidence in their career prospects. Many people call this phenomenon the Great Reshuffle, where people take their talents elsewhere to reshape their careers. People are heading to greener for pastures for various reasons, but one of the most notable is underemployment. However, what does it mean to be underemployed at work, and how do you fix it?
What is underemployment?
Underemployment is when you are working below your capacity. This feeling can arise from not utilizing all of your skills, your experiences are above what the position requires, or you are not receiving the hours you want. Regardless of your reasons for feeling this way, underemployment is an unfavorable feeling, and it can be challenging to identify if you are in this position.
Work is boring or not challenging enough
Do you feel fulfilled or mentally stimulated at work? If not, you are probably underemployed to some degree. If you find yourself repeatedly checking the clock or frequently feeling bored at work, it’s a sign you need a more challenging role. Feeling unmotivated at work is a vicious cycle as it can drain your energy to find a more fulfilling job. Also, constantly dreading going into work each day is a strong indication that you are underemployed.
How to fix this: This feeling is sometimes an easy fix. Have a conversation with your manager and see if you can take on new responsibilities. Let them know that you are eager for more challenges. In some situations, this may even be an opportunity to transition to a new department or role with your current employer. If this isn’t an option, then it’s time to start looking for a new opportunity.
You are not making the money you deserve
Is your compensation below marketing value with your current role? Depending on your industry, location, or company, you may be underpaid. However, with some quick due diligence, you can see if your compensation is up to par.
How to fix this: Doing a little research can help clear this up. Go on salary calculator websites like Glassdoor or Salary.com to get an idea of what other professionals with similar qualifications make. If you are below the average amount these sites are reporting, then it’s time to have a chat with your manager. The good news is that your employer may be willing to give you a pay bump to keep you content. In today’s competitive market, it’s easier for employers to justify offering a pay raise instead of facing yet another vacancy.
Your qualifications are higher than the position requires
This type of underemployment is probably the most common. Do you have a bunch of great skill sets under your belt that you never get to use? If there are skills or talents that you don’t have the platform to utilize in your current role, you are likely underemployed.
How to fix this: Reflect on your career and where you currently are. Do you feel happy or fulfilled with your current role despite not being able to use some of your talents? If so, there may be nothing to fix. But if you feel that you are wasting your talent or time, it’s time to kick off your job search.
Start by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your latest skill sets, certifications, and experiences. Don’t forget to let recruiters know you are open to new opportunities on LinkedIn, so they come to you with exciting job openings! Once those are freshly polished, take a few moments to review common interview questions, so you are ready to go when an interview request comes your way. Finally, sign up for job alerts on websites like JSG’s Talent Network to get the hottest jobs delivered directly to your inbox.
Feeling underemployed at work is an unsatisfying feeling; however, if you watch for these signs, you can help redirect your career to a more fulfilling future.