- Rob Houghton
A Candidate’s Tirade – Feedback from the 2019 Salary Report
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
2019 Annual Salary Report – Emotional Responses from candidates
WOW, the response to the 2019 Annual Salary Report was overwhelming and emotional. We received 227 emails, phone calls, text rants, and even one handwritten letter! People are upset. No two ways about it. I have never heard this much raw emotion from candidates in all my years recruiting. Maybe it is the current political climate, but folks are not happy out there in the WDC Regional Insurance market.
And it is not the numbers and statistics contained in the report. It was more of a trigger for something even bigger and more important. Clients and candidates ignore at your own peril.
I have listed the top four complaints/themes contained in the feedback we received in the days following the release of our report. If I reprinted some of these emails, the FCC would probably close me down and throw me off the internet – I think Big Tech can do that now…
#1 Complaint: “Why the hell am I only getting these tiny raises when the owners are making a killing…? This is a common assumption and theme contained in many of the emails received. I received five emails complaining about the “haves and have-nots” from separate employees at ONE publicly traded large insurance brokerage (not a client). No matter how you try to keep financial information secret in an organization, particularly, with regards to how much the owners are raking in AND how much the employees are making is known by everyone in the office. Trust me, everyone knows how much everyone else is making. Just the way it is. And you don’t have to give it to your employees in cash raises. Most people appreciate the surprise Amazon Gift Card or equivalent with a pat on the back for a job well done.
#2 Complaint: The Operations Manager from Hell. Some of the comments…”The Operations Manager is an absolute tyrant…what do I do?” How about this one from an employee working at a not so well-respected insurance firm: “This Ops Manager is a bully…I swear, I am going to knock her right out of her cheap boots one of these days!” Here is another hilarious one…”Rob, I let the damn air out of her (expletive deleted) tires twice this past year – we watched from my office window…priceless…she blew a gasket…dropped her coffee…it was worth the supplies she would not approve!” This individual has given me permission to relay this story. Funny stuff, but very serious as well. Where there is smoke there is fire. Two other employees from this same firm wrote emails as well – from different departments. This firm is a notorious sweat shop. My experience with Operations Managers at mid-market and the larger firms is that most are really good at what they do, but the ones at the small mom & pops can be very difficult to work with…okay…they’re usually friends of the family and on a power trip. And, by the way, don’t spy on your staff’s emails. They know you are looking. These people are not stupid.
#3 Complaint: Owners Just Showing Off. Another common theme…“Damn Rob, we’re counting pencils while the owners drive up in their expensive SUVs and sports cars…” Most of the candidates that seek us out are in this category. They feel disrespected. Personally, I am sick and tired of certain firms exploiting their staff and then throwing it back in their faces. Have some decent respect for your people. I got this from someone, “Rob, I understand the cost-cutting and the owner’s right to make all the money. All I want is a pat on the back once in a while…that’s it…” And then this…”does the BLANK keep having to remind everyone once a week how great his luxury vacation was…how about a $25 Amazon Gift Card for the staff…is it too much to ask from this (expletive deleted) to throw us some bones once in awhile!?”
#4 Complaint: “This commute is absolutely killing me…never felt so miserable and unproductive…when I get to the office, I am ready to hit somebody!” How about this one, “my toll bill on my credit card bill increases with each passing month…so I said the hell with it…I no longer contribute to the coffee fund – screw them…and, lol, I drink more coffee” An increasing number of workers are turning down new opportunities and departing their current ones for greater flexibility in the area of remote work opportunities and flexible hours. It now ranks as the #1 reason why people leave their positions in the WDC/NOVA market. Expectations now are for some flexibility to be earned after an initial 90 day period of evaluation. I almost fell out of my chair when someone told me the other day that they were paying $37.25 ONE-WAY to commute from Springfield to Tysons. That is unbelievable. Can this actually be true? People in France take to the streets for much less of a reason than this.
And finally, this:
From a long time CSR contact buried in our database that I honestly did not even recognize at first: “Thank you so much Rob for your email newsletters over the years and exposing what is so wrong with our insurance community…the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I am not respected in my workplace. Never have been. I am a single-mom and have worked in the WDC insurance industry for 15 years, but I can no longer afford to live in NOVA, work normal hours, and fight this horrific traffic. Even my kids are miserable. I am leaving the industry and leaving the area. The final kick in the ass was I went in to resign this past Friday and the owner’s wife told me (while texting on her smart phone) that I would be replaced “within a week.” Can you imagine, Rob, someone actually telling you this after ten years of dedicated service??…I cried all the way home.”
All the quotes above have been slightly changed to protect the innocent who gave me express permission to relay their experiences.
I have excluded any feedback that relates to any of our clients. One of the advantages of being a client.