New York workers continue to say that flexibility in their job is their top priority while attracting new employees and retaining current ones remain the top challenges for businesses, according to a survey released Wednesday by the state Department of Labor.

The 2023 Workforce Development Survey found that paid time off, health insurance and higher pay are still high priorities for the state's workers. For the first time though, the ability to work remotely full time is a top incentive job seekers desire. Workers have preference for online training, virtual workshops and job fairs and one-on-one career guidance.

Businesses, meanwhile, report they are struggling to attract workers and say that competition for a limited talent pool is driving the market. Fears of inflation and increased regulations on businesses are also top concerns of employers, as well as a need for skilled trades awareness and training.

In the wake of the economic uncertainty generated by the pandemic, many businesses report that they continue to struggle with filling open positions,” state Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we use what we’ve learned from this collaborative survey to understand the changes that have occurred in the labor market and develop effective strategies to match people to careers.”

Many New Yorkers are actively seeking work in construction, retail trade, health care and social assistance, and other industries and services.

Top positions employers are looking to fill include teachers, CDL drivers and laborers.

Three-quarters of businesses statewide report they are not considering implementing any form of digital automation as talks of artificial intelligence continue to heat up in all kinds of industries across the country.

“This survey highlights the struggles we as the leading business advocacy group, hear each day from our membership - there just are not enough skilled workers. It's critical that we help our state’s private sector employers find the talent they need to grow our state’s economy," said Heather Mulligan, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, which partnered in the survey.


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