Crossroads in 2024

As we bid farewell to the old year and step into the promise of a new one, the air is filled with anticipation and the energy of possibilities. Is this the year you break free from your comfort zone and confidently advocate for the compensation you truly deserve? Are you ready to make the leap and submit your application for the job position nearer to home, offering improved working hours? Will this be the year when you seize control of your future, champion your own cause, and discover fulfillment in your dental career? The new year presents an opportune moment to embrace a fresh perspective and instigate positive changes for your future self. 

Based on DentalPost’s 2024 Salary Survey, 11.8% of dental hygienists and 21.73% of dental assistants have intentions to seek new positions in 2024. Additionally, 29.55% of dental hygienists and 35.5% of dental assistants express potential interest in applying for new positions by 2025. The primary drivers behind these decisions include the prospects of higher pay, improved work environments, and more favorable locations. 

Before leaping into the prospect of changing jobs, there are strategic steps that can empower you to proactively work towards your goals within your current position. By carefully considering and implementing these measures, you may find avenues to achieve your objectives without necessarily undergoing a major career transition.

Want Better Pay? Practice the Art of Negotiation

The average total income of responding RDHs in DentalPost 2024 Salary Survey, increased by 7.57% in 2023 compared with last year’s survey results. This year, their mean income rose to $79,340. Despite two years of back-to-back increases and an increase in the number of RDHs receiving benefits, satisfaction with their total compensation decreased by 12%. Given the decline in pay satisfaction, aiming to negotiate for better compensation is a worthwhile goal to pursue this year. 

The first step in the art of negotiation is to arm yourself with knowledge. Find out what the industry is paying for your role. You can find this information through DentalPost’s Salary Survey, online, and your peers. You can even get a good sense of what jobs are paying on job listing sites. The timing of this conversation is crucial. It’s advisable to initiate it around your annual review, allowing you to highlight your achievements over the past year and articulate why your value has increased for the upcoming year. Share your goals, present your research, and emphasize why you prefer to remain at your

current office, underlining your commitment rather than seeking a more competitive salary elsewhere. Make sure to ask questions and probe deeper so you can understand their constraints. Great questions to ask being “Help me understand that? Why is there a cap? Is it tied to years of experience? You can often uncover their underlying interests and better negotiate around any setbacks. 

Although negotiations can be tense or seem like something won or lost, it’s important to stop thinking of this conversation as a battle, It is not a battle, It’s problem solving!

Better Work Environment

Exploring various avenues to enhance your work environment is crucial, and one highly effective approach is engaging in open and honest communication with both your employer and coworkers. Actively seek feedback to establish a transparent channel of communication, allowing for constructive discussions on potential changes that can enhance your comfort in the workplace. Recommend scheduling regular meetings with your employer or team to maintain open communication. This practice ensures that any challenges can be addressed promptly, preventing the emergence of passive aggressiveness within the office. 

While you’re working on communication, don’t forget to show gratitude for your team’s hard work. In the dental office, there are days when teamwork is crucial to navigate challenges and ensure a smooth day without setbacks. Acts like sanitizing a colleague’s operatory, assisting with sterilization when needed, or covering a phone call for the receptionist while they take a break are gestures that warrant appreciation. Expressing gratitude for such teamwork fosters a positive atmosphere and builds a reciprocal support system for times when you might need assistance. 

Strive to enhance the physical work environment for a positive impact on relationships among coworkers and managers. Initiate a discussion with your manager about personalizing your workspace to enhance comfort. Whether it involves adding a plant, wall art, an air infuser, or music, creating a comfortable environment for yourself may also positively influence your coworkers. When everyone is comfortable, happy, and motivated, it contributes to a more productive and cohesive workday. 

Whether it’s exploring new opportunities or championing for positive changes, 2024 can be the year you seize control of your career destiny. Embrace the power of choice, and

may this year be a catalyst for growth, fulfillment, and the realization of your professional dreams. 

Take time to see how you measure up with others in your field by reviewing DentalPost’s 2024 Dental Salary Survey 

Work Cited 

2024 DentalPost Salary Survey https://bit.ly/salary-survey-allie 

Christina Wood. “The Do’s and Dont’s of Negotiating A Raise.” CIO, 3 June 2022, www.cio.com/article/274922/careers-staffing-10-mistakes-to-avoid-when-negotiatin g-a-raise.html. 

Freedman, Max. “6 Ways to Improve Your Office’s Work Environment.” Business New Daily, 23 Oct. 2023, 

www.businessnewsdaily.com/7932-create-better-work-environment.html.

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