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September 16, 2021

Take a pay cut to land a job?

All told, some 1.5-million people are unemployed right now, and roughly 20% of them have been out of work for six months or longer, according to Stats Canada.

Between the increase in job seekers and the reduction in the number of positions available, competition for even the least desirable jobs has become much steeper.

And it seems that many of these job seekers are willing to accept as little as half of what they were making before, as long as it gets them in the door. 

In a recent survey, 65 per cent of out-of-work respondents said they would accept wages up to a third lower than their previous compensation. And some of them admitted that they would drop to 50 per cent of prior wages if they had to.

Let’s face it. If you’re out of work and you need money to pay the bills, it’s better to take a lower-paying job than to have no job at all. After all, you can always work yourself back up the ladder.

But those who do accept lower salaries in order to ride out the recession might find that they've permanently damaged their market value, several workplace consultants tell CNN. 

"Job seekers that take severe pay cuts in order to secure a job today may find it extremely difficult to recoup forfeited wages once the economy recovers," says career coach Patrina Campbell. 

Tell us: Would you consider taking a pay cut to land a job?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...