Throughout the pandemic, employers from large corporations to small businesses have been struggling to fill open positions. Employers are concerned about how long these staffing issues could last.

NY1’s Ruschell Boone sat down with a labor market analyst and trend spotter, Jared Coseglia. The CEO and owner of Tru Staffing Partners, Inc. talked about what both employers and employees can expect from the future of the workforce.

Q: How many months or years will struggling companies remain understaffed?

A: Right now, the experience of getting staffed up seems like an impossibility, and there seems to be no end in sight. Return to office strategies differ from industry to industry, and even then, from company to company. And policies for returning to office continue to change and fluctuate with the evolution of the virus, making it very difficult to both retain and attract new employees.

Q: What percentage of people are leaving companies to start their own businesses after leaving that 9-5?

A: The amount of individuals that are leaving organizations is about one in three. We found that most companies in 2021 turned over about a third of their staff. And that's a pretty dramatic number. The amount of people who were then hanging a shingle to start their own business is often measured by the amount of individuals that are contracted. The amount of Americans, particularly New Yorkers, who have shifted from full-time permanent positions into contract positions during the pandemic is extreme. And there are lots of opportunities for contract staffing right now in the job market.

Q: What do you think people feel that way? Is it because they want a different type of work-life balance, or is it because their employer isn't flexible enough? What is the reason, you think?

A: A lot of it has to do with employer flexibility. The bottom line in New York City right now is that there is a battle between the employers return to office, vaccine and/or mask mandate policies versus the job seekers desire for work from home flexibility and or fear for health and safety. This has created a stalemate situation for most of the open headcount throughout New York City and isn't just limited to hospitality, despite them having lost over 100,000 jobs. This is affecting the less talked about markets like finance, law, tech, business, and when one employee leaves and another one gets hired, another employee resigns and is out the door .

Q: So what is next now for the workforce, and since you're seeing that, and are people leaving permanently?

A: Some people are leaving permanently, but I think what we're seeing right now is a resistance to follow certain mandates that employers are requiring as conditions of employment. We conducted a survey of about 500 active job seekers in New York City and found that a whopping one in four would not get vaccinated as a condition of employment. Additionally, what's happening now with remote employment is that New York companies, they may not require you to be in an office, though they may eventually desire you to be in an office, are now competing against employers from outside the city and outside the state that are poaching New York City talent by offering fully remote jobs. Jobs that were not available to New Yorkers prior to the pandemic. So, until we find some sort of normalcy between what employers want and what employees want, we’ll continue to have challenges filling all these positions right.

Q: How can jobseekers use this to their advantage?

A: It's a great question, Ruschell. And enterprising job seekers can and will use this moment in time as an advantage to negotiate all sorts of desired outcomes when taking a new position. My first piece of advice is to know your worth. And the best way to know how your compensation stacks up against peers is by working with a talent agent who specializes in your area of discipline. So whether you're a cybersecurity professional or a hostess and server, there are talent agencies out there that focus on placing professionals like you. Second, and this is an important one. Go fully to market with your career. Don't just dip your toe in the water. Most active job seekers are entertaining two to three offers concurrently. When they fully go to market with their job search, get the most out of your search by having multiple competing offers that can be used as leverage to negotiate the best financial outcome for you and your family. And the last thing, don't be afraid of contract work because there’s tons of it out there.