Opinion: NJ Labor Shortage Will Lead to More Automation, Responsible Teens
Before the Independence Day holiday, it was announced that minors can temporarily work up to 50 hours per week to help fill the shortage of workers New Jersey is currently experiencing this summer (click here for the full story).
Whatever the reason may be for why people don't want to return to work, it's going to encourage businesses to move even quicker toward automating their businesses, and relying on minors. Here are my thoughts on this.
For one, if you're someone who's choosing not to go back to work, then you have no room to complain, as you are contributing to this shift of minors working beyond 40 hours per week.
I also believe that most kids are perfectly OK with having an opportunity to work additional hours. That's how I was as a teen, and I'm sure there are plenty of teens today across the state that feel the same way.
It also teaches kids responsibility, and the value of earning a buck.
For me, I was able to buy my first car with cash I saved up from working over the years when I was a teen. I worked as much as I was allowed to and took pride in what I accomplished.
If my two sons were of working age, I'd be 100% on-board signing off on this. In fact, I'd be encouraging them to work as much as they could, including up to 50 hours per week.
Now remember, this temporary authorization was passed because of a large shortage of workers around the state. This is particularly true for our shore communities and summer positions.
Think about this: One local beach business couldn't even find anyone to pick up trash for $24 per hour. At that rate, if you worked four hours per day, for five days a week, that's $480 a week working only 20 hours just picking up trash while working outside at the beach. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good summer job to me.
And it doesn't stop there. Some business owners have said people are applying for positions, but not coming in for the interview. Of course, this is probably just to show unemployment that they are looking for work so they can still collect benefits.
But, let's stay on that for just a moment. I recently got my haircut, and my barber was telling me about a customer that came in bragging about how they're making more on unemployment with all the added benefits then they would be if they went back to work, finding it amusing.
Sadly, I do believe that this is a big part of what the labor shortage is all about. This, of course, helps lead me to my point as to why businesses are going to invest in automation at a much faster rate.
Now, not everybody would be out of a job when that happens. Those of us who either worked through the pandemic, or went back to work as soon as they could won't be the ones who are out.
It's all those positions that can't be filled now thanks to people who refuse to return that'll be replaced. And once those added government benefits run out, those jobs will probably be no more.
And you know who the first people will be to complain about automation taking over? The very ones now who are refusing to go back.
Look, I do know this isn't everyone as some people have legitimate reasons for not returning to their jobs at this time. I'm mainly referring to those like the one my barber experienced that are choosing to do nothing and bragging about it.
So to those of you who think this is a luxury vacation, please enjoy it. At some point, that vacation will come to an end, and you'll only have yourself to thank when technology fills your position and you have nowhere to go.
And as for minors who want to work those extra hours? I say go for it, you deserve the opportunity.