One would expect that a job offering of $24 per hour will stick to basics when reeling out the required qualifications. That’s what a TikTok user assumed when they saw a job posting with requirements that were way above the hourly pay.
These situations, which are now widespread, are drawing attention to the oddities that Gen Zs encounter in the labor market. Experts have also weighed in.
$24 Per hour
When the TikToker, a 28-year-old Washington area resident, came across the job posting offering $24 per hour, he was immediately interested. Although the pay wasn’t all that exciting, it was good enough to deserve some consideration.
But nothing prepared him for the list of qualifications that were attached. The qualifications were so ridiculous for that pay that one could be tempted to think that the posting was a prank.
“Preferably a Master’s Degree”
In a video the TikTok user Calbinogenome posted to his 30,000 followers, he listed the shocking qualifications attached to the job.
Alt: A Lady in Graduation Apparel
Title: A Lady Graduate
“A recruiter reached out to me asking me to apply for this job about a month ago and here are the requirements of all, a bachelor’s degree, preferably a master’s degree in biochemistry.” Phew! That sounds like quite an overreach.
High-Level Programming Skills Too
As ridiculous as this already sounds for a 24-per-hour day job, the posting didn’t end here. It went on to demand top-level programming proficiency and stringent job experience.
“Second, five years experience in a field that has existed for about 12 years at the moment, experience programming in Python in a professional environment, experience with SQL servers.”
The Job Also Required the Ability to Travel
If traveling isn’t your thing, then you aren’t qualified for this job either. The TikToker also mentioned that the job required applicants to “most importantly,” have the “ability to travel both domestically and internationally…two weeks of the year.”
With this set of qualifications, Calbinogenome declared that $24 per hour is outrageous. “It’s $24 an hour. Not even salaried, $24 an hour. $48,000 a year for this job,” he declared in disbelief.
Was the Job Posting a Ruse?
After releasing the video, Calbinogenome later had another opportunity to speak on the issue when journalists approached him. During the interview, he revealed that the post was for a Quality Specialist in Biotech, with the Seattle area as its primary location.
He believed that the awkward posting was done on purpose. “I didn’t respond at all. I think with a lot of these jobs, they are not serious jobs where they are actually expecting people to apply.”
Probably a PR Strategy
Calbinogenome explained that this job posting was likely a PR strategy made to paint a positive picture of the company’s situation.
“I think that they are jobs that are being posted simply to give the company the appearance of not shrinking or downsizing its operations,” he told the press in a telephone interview. If successful, the strategy will boost the company’s public approval.
Similar Job Postings Are Becoming a Thing
The TikTok user also spoke about the broader challenge in the job market, stressing that this growing trend of sneaky job offers is a threat to the zeal of Gen Zs, who want to work hard for success.
“There is a lot of sawdust in the job market at the moment,” he continued. “The jobs…aren’t either worth the requirements…or the requirements are too high so, we don’t qualify.”
The Rise of “Ghost Jobs” Will Likely Discourage the Gen Zs
There is a widespread perception that Gen Zs are the lazy generation who want an easy ride to career success. But Calbinogenome worries that the ghost job trend could worsen the situation.
“It’s a bit discouraging for people who are trying to be serious about their careers right now,” he complained. Job postings such as this could dampen the courage of these people simply searching for the next step in their careers.
Economists Waded into the Issue
Commenting on the issue, some economists have blamed the situation on the present and worsening condition of the labor market. A top economist at ZipRecruiter Julia Pollak revealed that 280,000 additional workers bloat the labor market every month.
In her view, this abundance of potential employees tempts companies to exploit the situation. “They can afford to post jobs and set the pay fairly low to start, in case they are lucky and find a great hire at a cost they can comfortably stomach,” she said.
Desperate Job Seekers are the Target
Pollak suggested that these companies seek to take advantage of desperate job seekers in the overcrowded job market. “They might later raise the advertized pay if they do not receive the quality or quantity of applications they…hoped for.”
She said that research has confirmed the tendency to upskill during seasons of weak labor market conditions. Plus, this behavior will be the worst hit by the media and tech industry.
Now, Demand and Supply Influences Pay
Aaron Terrazas, a leading economist at Glassdoor, brings a slightly different angle to the issue. He revealed that firms now set their pay based on the level of availability of prospective employees.
He also fingered several industries that will most likely adopt the new model in response to worsening labor conditions. These are the tech, finance, and consulting sectors, where employees now wield more negotiating power.