Feb 16, 2023 - Economy & Business

NYC mayor, in turnaround, will consider remote work for city employees

Data: BLS via FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: BLS via FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facing a shortage of municipal workers, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has softened his stance on remote work and is looking at the possibility of hybrid work for city employees.

Why it matters: While private sector jobs have recovered — and then some — compared to their pre-pandemic numbers, the public sector is a different story. Worker shortages are an ongoing issue.

💭 Our thought bubble: Even Adams, who's been a strong proponent of the return-to-office, needs to reckon with the new reality of an ultra-competitive job market and offer more flexibility to workers who increasingly have other options.

State of play: Compared to the private sector, public employers have been far less able to offer remote work, scheduling flexibility, or simply compete on pay and bonuses, says Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

  • "If you have a shortage of some type of worker in the private sector, you'd do a signing bonus," she said. You can't do that in government roles, which are often constrained by union contracts.
  • New York City has been facing higher than usual attrition rates as workers are leaving for the private sector — where there's often higher pay and more opportunity for workplace flexibility, Gothamist has reported.

Flashback: Last year, Adams urged New Yorkers back to the office to help the city's economy. "You can't stay at home in your pajamas all day," he said.

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