Survey Reveals Top Priorities for Workers, Where to Find Career Opportunities, and Employer Challenges
Read the Complete 2023 Workforce Development Survey Results for Workers and Employers
The New York State Department of Labor today released the results of its 2023 Workforce Development Survey, and workers continue to say that flexibility in their job is the number one priority, while attracting new employees and retaining current workers remain the top challenges for businesses.
The annual survey, which is done in partnership with Empire State Development and the New York State Business Council, started in 2021 as an effort to understand the needs of both workers seeking employment and employers in a post-pandemic economy. Gathering responses from over 2,400 businesses and 8,200 individuals, this survey is the most comprehensive survey available on the specific needs of businesses and job seekers statewide.
“In the wake of the economic uncertainty generated by the pandemic, many businesses report that they continue to struggle with filling open positions,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “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.”
In the survey, businesses report they are struggling to attract workers and say that competition for a limited talent pool is driving the market. Attracting new workers, retaining current workers, fears of inflation and increased regulations on businesses are top concerns of employers in New York State. There is also a major need for skilled trades awareness and training.
For workers, paid time off, health insurance, and higher pay continue to remain high priorities, though this year, for the first time, “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. NYSDOL offers many of these services at no cost.
Recent NYSDOL efforts in workforce development, including a $350 million investment by Governor Hochul, are creating opportunities for workers looking to grow their skills and incomes in the competitive State economy. For workers looking to upskill and train in higher-paying industries and careers, they say lack of education, access to professional networks, and age discrimination remain recurring impediments, according to the survey.
Higher education and further skills development remain out of reach for many workers, due to rising costs of schooling and time constraints of working other jobs. Job seekers are interested in advanced training in digital skills, driver certifications, and healthcare. NYSDOL offers free job search assistance in our 96 career centers, free upskilling and training through Coursera, and most recently launched the Northstar Digital Literacy Program, for employment seekers lacking digital literacy skills.
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.
Most businesses are looking to maintain or increase their physical footprint, signaling the need for a continued, active local workforce. Three-quarters of businesses statewide report they are not considering implementing any form of digital automation. Despite fears of automation and Artificial Intelligence taking away jobs, the necessity for skilled workers in New York State remains.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York State continues to reimagine its data-driven approach to workforce development. In collaboration with partners across state government and the New York’s business community, ESD’s Office of Strategic Workforce Development is supporting training programs for jobs in growth industries, while addressing underrepresented communities. The results of the 2023 survey will help inform our programs and policies to encourage new and sustainable economic opportunities.”
Heather Mulligan, President and CEO of the Business Council of New York State said, “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. Workforce Development programs and initiatives remain crucial in achieving this goal and The Business Council remains committed to fostering those programs."
New York State remains committed to support workers, job seekers, and businesses to bridge the gap between workers seeking employment and employers’ need for a stable workforce. Synchronized efforts between NYSDOL, the State of New York, and local employers will help support meaningful career pathways for workers, provide security to families in New York state, and support a robust local economy.
Read the full reports for job seekers and businesses or more detailed response data and use the NY Labor Data page for more access to real-time worker and employer data.