Child Labor Is Back, the Labor Shortage Is Still Here, Remote Work May Go Away, and More!

A compilation of the most interesting recruiting stories from the past week.

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Jul 21, 2023

Welcome to “The Most Interesting Recruiting Stories of the Week,” a weekly post that features talent acquisition insights and information from around the web to kick off your weekend. Here’s what’s of interest this week:

How young is too young to work? The re-emergence of child labor in the U.S. should be alarming to everyone. And yet the trend has its supporters. Numerous lawmakers around the country are on a crusade to repeal statues that have either prevented or inhibited the possibility of exploiting children. As reports, “The number of kids at work in the United States increased by 37 percent between 2015 and 2022. During the last two years, 14 states have either introduced or enacted legislation rolling back regulations that governed the number of hours children can be employed, lowered the restrictions on dangerous work, and legalized subminimum wages for youths.” (The Nation)

Immigration laws prevent asylum seekers from filing New York’s labor shortage. New York City has seen almost 100,000 workers leave the labor force since the pandemic. What’s more, there were 1.2 jobs available for every unemployed person in New York state in April. The good news? There exist people to fill those positions. The bad news? Various laws are either prohibiting or inhibiting employers from hiring many of New York’s migrants. (Bloomberg)

Gig workers want more pay. Good luck. Axios reports that “[e]ven in a tight labor market where the lowest-wage workers are seeing outsized gains, gig drivers, who deliver food or people for companies like Uber or DoorDash, are having a hard time notching pay wins.” Laws have been passed, then put on hold. As companies like Uber, Grubhub, and DoorDash continue to (often successfully) challenge legal efforts to transform independent contractors into employees, many legislatures have moved on to focus instead on raising minimum wages for gig workers.(Axios)

A nagging labor shortage is still a plague on recruiting. Workforce participation remains below pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. From people taking early retirement to lack of access to child care and more, the findings cite an array of causes for a persistent problem. (Chamber of Commerce)

Show up for work, or else. Remember those halcyon days when employers who continued to reject remote work were seen as antiquated, unhip, and downright nonsensical for not embracing the new reality of work. How the dies have turned! And fairly quickly! Increasingly, companies claim productivity is suffering and see one solution as bringing employees back to the office. We are in the midst of the backlash to the backlash of remote work. (Two pieces: The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review)

Marijuana background checks are going up in smoke. As more and more states legalize weed, more and more employers are opting not to test for the drug. Of course, in progressive talent circles, not testing for pot has been a growing trend. Yet it’s worth pointing out at the same time, positive marijuana tests following a workplace accident more than tripled from 2012 to 2022. That could be because more people are working while high.Or it might be that more individuals are smoking up outside of work. Or both. (The Washington Post)

It’s taking longer to hire people. Why? New research shows that time to hire is going up. And it’s only likely to continue to creep up. (SHRM)

Glassdoor introduces a new feature enabling anonymous discussions. Will the platform’s effort to increase knowledge sharing be a positive evolution or spiral into a dreadful devolution? We all talk about transparency and authenticity, but those two concepts are not synonymous with anonymity. Time will tell whether Glassdoor’s latest effort turns into a productive avenue for dialogue or whether it spirals downward to resemble a typical comments section on a USA Today article. (

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