The unicorn employee: someone with all the skills across a multitude of platforms, isn’t limited by job titles, and efficiently completes tasks at an awe-inspiring pace. They are willing, and even prefer, to wear different hats, inspire colleagues, and never lose empathy.
Unicorns can make the difference between surviving and thriving and perhaps unsurprisingly, they are hard to catch even when you have the right bait.
And this is why it never ceases to surprise me when I come across a job description from a nonprofit arts and culture org that is clearly looking for a unicorn but offering a donkey budget.
Following the pandemic, this has become a bit more common, and I get it; staffs were gutted and the funds to rehire at previous levels doesn’t exist. All of this makes the temptation to offer a little more for unicorn level duties and responsibilities is strong.
All of this is the latest byproduct of a system that has underpaid staffers for decades while expanding the pay gap between entry/middle management and executives at exponential rates. As such, I can’t say any of it is a surprise and while I wish there was a simple solution here, don’t expect much to change until the field begins to make pay equality a priority.
In the meantime, you’ll be more likely to attract the best candidates possible by conducting an honest unicorn to donkey review before posting your next job listing.