We research all brands listed and may earn a fee from our partners. Research and financial considerations may influence how brands are displayed. Not all brands are included. Learn more.

Published: Apr 18, 2024 4 min read
Photo-illustration of fingers walking up money stairs.
Money; Getty Images

Americans now require more money than ever before to accept a job offer.

On average, the lowest salary U.S. job seekers are willing to accept in order to take on a new job is $81,822, according to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This reading of the so-called “reservation wage” is the highest in the survey’s 10-year history.

This time last year, that figure was just under $76,000 — a difference of $6,011. The spike in the reservation wage suggests that, after years of dealing with elevated inflation, Americans are starting to demand higher starting pay.

While the reservation wage is at an all-time high for both men and women, the average figures vary widely between them. On average, it takes about $95,500 to persuade men to take a new job, whereas women said they would accept roughly $66,300.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Expand your network and your career with the help of a Job Search Site
Job Search Sites allow you to put your resume out there for tons of companies and potential employers to see. Click your state to begin networking today!
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
Get Started

Growing pay (and job) dissatisfaction

Currently, the average full-time worker is earning about $84,000, another series high. But that’s not enough for a growing share of the workforce.

The percentage of workers who say they are are satisfied with their wages fell to 55.6%, down 4 percentage points from a year ago. Compared to last year, women in particular aren’t as happy with their earnings, with satisfaction falling over 9 percentage points.

Again, that could be due to persistent inflation. On top of that, the Federal Reserve is holding interest rates high in a bid to keep prices from soaring even higher. This strategy tends to result in a tamer job market. Simply put, when interest rates are higher, employers have to spend more money on debt payments (and less on wages).

In terms of opportunities for promotions, less than half of all workers say they’re satisfied, women less so than men. A lack of advancement is part of what pushes many workers to look for employment elsewhere.

Great Resignation 2.0?

According to separate data from the Atlanta Fed, people who have switched jobs in recent years make more money than those who stayed put and waited for a raise. In 2022, during the height of the “Great Resignation” — a period marked by millions of job resignations — the people who switched jobs especially earned a nice salary bump.

Since then, the job-changing premium has shrunk, but switchers still consistently earn more than those who stay.

Now, about two years after the peak of the Great Resignation, the New York Fed data suggests that workers are once again growing discontent, nearing the levels seen just before Americans started quitting en masse.

One major difference is, now, high interest rates are keeping the labor market in check, and employers may not be as keen to hire as a result. This makes quitting riskier, so even though workers aren’t very satisfied with their pay, questionable job prospects could be stemming a potential wave of resignations.

While the labor market has indeed simmered since the pandemic, it remains strong by pre-pandemic standards. Still, this economic wane seems to be evident to the average employee: Overall, the New York Fed says workers are now “more pessimistic about losing their job and finding a new job” than they have been in recent years.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Find your perfect fit using ZipRecruiter
ZipRecruiter can help you apply for jobs, get tips from industry leaders, and grow your professional network. Click below to start today.
Get Started

More from Money:

Young Adults Are Trying to 'Hack' Their Way to Financial Stability

The 50 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Best Hospitals of 2024

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.Ad
FInd your perfect job match with ZipRecruiter