2022 labor shortage gives workers upper hand over employers

Talk about a perfect time to graduate.

Christina Close graduated from Brookdale Community College in Middletown in December to become a registered nurse and began applying to local hospitals, ready to enter an industry desperate to fill vacancies.

“I just applied and got an interview that day,” said Close, a 33-year-old Hazlet resident. “I guess it’s pretty quick.”

New Jersey workers are expected to continue to be in high demand in 2022, which will put more pressure on employers to offer higher wages, a collegial workplace and, perhaps most importantly, working conditions. sure.

Christina Close of Hazlet with her son, Cannen, 10, daughter, Ceceila, 7, and son, Cade, 6 weeks.  Close recently graduated from Brookdale Community College nursing school and has several interviews lined up.

“Where are all these people?” :COVID surge extends NJ labor shortage, despite higher wages

It’s a trend that has long been on the radar as the giant generation of baby boomers began to reach retirement age. But that was on full display during the pandemic as more and more workers started quitting their jobs, convinced they could find something better.

“You’ve heard of the ‘big quit,'” said Gene Waddy, owner of Diversant LLC, a Middletown-based staffing agency. “That’s actually a misnomer. It’s not really, really a resignation and I’ll never work again.

Gene Waddy, owner of Diversant LLC, speaks at the Asbury Park Press Business Roundtable at Neptune.

“They’re not leaving the job market, they’re just changing. But I think the demand isn’t going to go away. It’s going to be a worker economy for a few years to come in my mind,” he said.

The shift puts workers like Close and her fellow Brookdale nursing graduates in the driver’s seat as they search for jobs in a profession that is trying to fill a wave of positions left by retiring or burnt-out nurses.

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