Personal Finance

Now is the best time to land a new job. Here’s how

Key Points
  • With the jobless rate at a 17-year-low, more employers are planning to hire full-time, permanent staff in 2018.
  • Making a career change is typically the best way to improve your salary and benefits.
  • Here's how to jump start a job search.

2018 is the year of the dog on some calendars. It might as well be the year of the job.

Fifty percent of all adults said they would consider looking for a new job this year — the highest number in years, according to a recent report by Glassdoor. The job-hunting site polled more than 2,000 employed adults in December.

Their timing is spot on.

With the jobless rate at a 17-year-low, the number of employers planning to hire full-time, permanent staff in 2018 rose to 44 percent for 2018, up from 40 percent last year, according to separate data from CareerBuilder. And U.S. companies already hired 234,000 employees in January.

A new LinkedIn Workforce Report found that hiring across the country was 13 percent higher last month than a year earlier.

"I think 2018 will be the best year since the recession," said Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder's CEO. "Almost half the companies said they will increase hiring and a lot of that will be in the first quarter. "

Job hopping is also considered the best bet for a big salary bump. Job switchers saw their wages grow nearly a percentage point more over the past year than job stayers, according to a mid-2017 report from Nomura.

Although wage growth has remained sluggish overall as the economy expands, employers will become more aggressive with compensation for in-demand workers, CareerBuilder found — 3 in 10 plan to increase starting salaries for new employees by 5 percent or more, while 36 percent plan to offer similar pay increases for existing staff.

This year employers are also sweetening the pot with better benefits in addition to higher pay. Nearly half of all large and midsize employers — including Starbucks and Honeywell — are considering increasing 401(k) and pension plan contributions, boosting their health care subsidy or improving the paid family leave program, among other changes to their benefit programs, according to another survey by Willis Towers Watson.

"The tax reform law is creating economic opportunity to invest in their people programs," John Bremen, a managing director of human capital and benefits at Willis Towers Watson, said in a statement.

The tax reform law is creating economic opportunity to invest in their people programs.
John Bremen
managing director, Willis Towers Watson

For those serious about making a career change, "it still holds true that most people get a job through people they know," said Barbara Safani, president of Career Solvers in New York and author of "Happy About My Job Search."

To that end, reinvigorate your network — particularly on LinkedIn and Facebook.

"Have your messaging ready so you feel confident when you start reaching out to people," she said.

But with that, Safani said, "I recommend people keep their social media presence to one that represents them professionally and isn't so opinionated — and I always recommend people stay away from politics and religion."

More from Personal Finance:
The strong economy could be your ticket to a new job
10 moves to boost your wealth in 2018
Unused vacation costs workers $66 billion