These kids today with their salary expectations. When I was their age, I walked ten miles barefoot over broken glass every morning to get to work, and didn’t get paid at all. I was grateful for the experience. And they walk in here asking for bonuses. And sick pay. And holiday pay. The world’s gone mad.

Has it?

As we work our way up the ladder to a position of workplace seniority, there are landmark moments we can all recognise. The day we realise we’re not the new kid any more and we actually know what we’re doing. The day other people start asking our advice. The first time we get promoted. The first time we recruit for new staff.

That last one is big. Bringing new people in, perhaps to do a job we once did ourselves, is a serious responsibility. We may wish to be seen as a mentor, a wise elder by this newcomer. How should we react when they not only reject our wisdom but set out their stall for a better offer than we were planning to make, and a far better offer than we ever got?

Some people react less equitably than others.

This week details emerged of a hiring manager in the United States who took to social media to vent his anger at a job applicant who’d asked for more money than he was prepared to pay.

Doing this at all is questionable; it may encourage realism in future applicants but it’s hardly likely to spark enthusiasm. The real issue, though, was how personally the hiring manager was taking it and how subjectively he was judging the application.

He requested to be paid $40 an hour to which I replied, ‘The most I pay anyone initially is $20 until I can trust them

When I was 24, I worked 20-40 hours a week as an intern with no pay.

The applicant chose not to pursue things any further, and the recruiter was wounded. Perhaps he wanted to take this talented young person under his wing, show him the value of trust and experience and finally give him the career path and the money he sought. But he wanted to give it as his gift and the applicant believed their talent merited it as a right.

It’s challenging to navigate hurt feelings and senses of entitlement, so how do we plot a true course as recruiters and as managers?

Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone.

When your recruitment software produces a detailed skills analysis of all external and internal candidates, it’s straightforward to assess and benchmark salary expectations.

When your staff development software enables training needs to be logged via appraisals, business plans, project workflows or direct requests and delivers an audit on the success of that training and the increased skill levels of the trainee, it’s straightforward to analyse their value to your organisation.

When you have a Jane System, you have hard evidence to base your decisions on.

These kids today with their skills, qualifications and engagement have a huge amount to offer. They are the present and the future of our economy, and shouldn’t be judged through a prism of a recruiter’s own hopes and disappointments.


You should value them, encourage them and pay them what they’re worth. If you don’t, someone else will.

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