Workers on night shift at Wheaton Glass Co. in Millville in 1909. Image: Library of Congress
In the fall of 2021, New Jersey's total full and part-time employment was just under four million persons. Government is the largest sector in total employment with 578,600 public sector workers, some 15% of the state's total workforce employed by either the state, local, or federal governments. The leading sectors of private employment were health services; transportation, professional and business services, trade and leisure and hospitality.
According to the job search site ZipRecruiter, as of October 2021, the average annual pay for the 'Average jobs' category in New Jersey was $58,149 or approximately $27.96 an hour or $1,118 per week. Understandably, however, salaries vary widely, with ZipRecruiter reporting salaries for jobs posted on its site as high as $129,841 and as low as $19,571, with the majority of salaries within the 'Average jobs' category ranging between $47,257 to $70,648, with top earners making $85,923 annually. A survey published by Kiplinger.com in 2020 (using 2019 data) ranked New Jersey as the top state in the US in millionaire households per capita with 323,443 millionaire households comprising 9.76% of its total households. The survey also reported the median annual income for all households as $81,740.
New Jersey's state minimum wage rate increased in January 2021 to $12 per hour (compared to the federal minimum wage of $7.25) and is scheduled to increase by $1 annually until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025. The minimum wage applies to most employees in New Jersey, with limited exceptions including tipped employees, some student workers, and other exempt occupations.
After lagging the nation and nearby states in employment since the recession which began in 2008, the state's unemployment rate steadily improved into 2019, but sharply declined as businesses closed and laid off thousands as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The unemployment rate spiked in the summer of 2020 at 11%, but had declined to 7.2% as of August 2021--a rate which still tied for the fourth highest of all states (behind Nevada, California and New York). Despite the state's comparatively high unemployment rate, there were widespread reports of worker shortages in fall 2021--particularly at low- to mid-level wage positions--as the New Jersey economy gradually emerged from the COVID-19 lockdowns--shortfalls which some analysts attributed to continuing problems with obtaining child and elder care, as well as a lack of satisfaction with previous employment.
In New Jersey, government is the largest sector in total employment with 578,600 public sector workers, some 15% of the state's total workforce employed by either the state, local, or federal governments. Among all states, the state ranks 17th lowest.in its government share of total jobs, with its share decreasing in recent years, down 9.1% from 2010. In 2020, there were just over 48,000 federal employees in the state and the governor's fiscal year 2022 budget (July 2021 through June 2022) reported a total of approximately 65,000 state government employees (excluding employees in public higher education and public authorities).
The health care and social support industry is the largest individual private sector employment sector in New Jersey, comprising about 500,000 workers and accounting for over 10% of all jobs in the state. Major bio-pharmaceutical and medical device companies operating in New Jersey include Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Bayer, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Stryker and several others. Health care networks also are among the largest employers, particularly as formerly independent hospitals have merged into statewide or regional systems, with the New Jersey Hospital Association reporting that New Jersey hospitals employ more than 150,000 individuals. The major hospital-led networks include those of RWJBarnabas Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, Atlantic Health System; in addition to their acute care hospitals, the networks also operate or have affiliations with rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, community care and other related health services and facilities.
Major retail employers have experienced some contraction due to the growth of digital marketing, but retailers like Wal-Mart, Macys, Target, Home Depot and others continue to have large New Jersey workforces, joined by rapidly-growing Amazon, which maintains significant warehouses and distribution centers for its online sales as well as the supermarkets of Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired in 2017. Other supermarket and convenience store chains include Wakefern Food, ShopRite, Acme, ALDI, WaWa, and 7-Eleven.
The lodging industry incurred sharp job cutbacks during 2020 and 2021 from lockdowns and occupancy restrictions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but had recovered somewhat by the fall of 2021 with the easing of travel restrictions. Atlantic City casino-hotels, which had suffered major job cuts before the COVID-19 Pandemic leading to the closure of four hotels, also have slowly resumed hiring, with the largest employer Caesars Entertainment, the operator of the Caesars, Harrah's and Tropicana casino-hotels.
Before reaching out to contacts who may assist in identifying job opportunities, applicants are also advised to prepare or update their resumes. While forwarding resumes to others for review and comments may again be through person-to-person contacts, online services, either free or for fees, also have grown to assist in drafting and editing resumes. A more recent trend has been to post brief videos to complement resumes, with some recruiters suggesting that videos help to give a more personal view of the applicant and their interests in the job and the employer. Nonprofit resources also may offer personal assistance in preparing for launching job searches, such as SCORE, a national network sponsored by the US Small Business Administration of retired or current executives and business owners who volunteer to advise others on business matters and which has several New Jersey chapters, usually meeting at local libraries or chambers of commerce.
Despite the rapid growth of digital job search services, looking for a job often still begins with reaching out to friends, relatives, business associates or others who may know of job opportunities. To be sure, this outreach may utilize digital communication though e-mail or over networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. Using personal contacts also may lead to more successful results in being hired as those making decisions on applicants are more likely to select those who are referred by known contacts than those who simply apply online without a reference.
For job-seekers attempting to expand their network of contacts, participating in events or meetings of state and local business or professional associations, such as those of chambers of commerce or bar and trade associations, also may be useful. In some communities, local libraries or other nonprofits may sponsor job search workshops or seminars. State and county economic development agencies also sponsor job fairs where applicants may obtain information and submit applications to potential employers.
Looking for a job has increasingly evolved from reaching beyond personal contacts to exploring and posting applications on the many online search websites. The larger sites display jobs categorized by location, required experience and skills and allow submission of multiple applications. More specialized sites may focus on skills in areas such as technology, finance or healthcare.
Some major jib search websites include:
New Jersey Career Connections (useful gateway for NJ based jobs published by NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development to job searches, job training, job fairs, unemployment and disability resources)
Indeed (hosts more than 150 million resumes and claims that 10 new jobs added every second, resources include resume builder tool and career blog,. employer-posted jobs supplemented by aggregated postings from across web from company career pages and professional associations)
Monster (one of oldest and largest ob sites, operating for 25 years with focus on assisting employers find candidates, search options include keywords, location, willingness to travel, recent resume updates)
ZipRecruiter(job search site partner with Facebook, integrated into Facebook platform, used by over 110 million job seekers and 2.8 million employers, lists trending job titles, employers, locations, etc., search options include by salary, experience, full- or part-time)
LinkedIn.(networking site focused on executive and professional contacts, allows job postings through direct employer listings and also through communication within network; career-related content along with industry groups allowing participation in professional discussions relevant to job searches)
Ladders (focus on higher, $80K+ salaried jobs, employers allowed to post for free up to 10 job listings a month, view 10 resumes per month, and send 10 emails per month, premium paid-plan levels allow posting more jobs, reviewing more resumes and responding to more candidates)
SimplyHired (connects employers with job seekers across more than 100 job boards, allows employers to post jobs for free, but must pay fee to contact candidates)
Glassdoor.(job search supplemented by reviews of companies by former employees, sharing salary and benefits information, also some review employer's recruiting processes)
Google for Jobs.(brings together job postings from across the web, whether on websites run by small businesses or job sites with thousands of listings)
Recruiter.com (world's largest network of over 27,500 small and independent recruiters with access to millions of candidate profiles, also in-house recruiters for targeted searches to assist employers with talent acquisition)
CareerBuilder. (Quick Apply tool allows applications to 25+ jobs with one click showing recommended jobs based off recent searches; salary comparison feature shows salaries with same job title in search area, provides career advice and resources for candidates)
Getwork (formerly known as LinkUp, indexes jobs from over 50,000 companies, search options include keywords and location with direct links to employer's website to apply; claims more focused searches than other sites by daily monitoring tens of thousands of employer career sites for up-to-date search results)
While most of the largest job search sites which cover a wide range of employment also provide tools to select more specific categories, some other sites offer more focused listings, such as those in technology, education, law enforcement. on on a specific occupation or geographic region. Other sites may target candidates with special backgrounds or areas of interest, such as those for lawyers, veterans, nurses or those with racial or ethnic diversity.
Some examples include:
Dice (focus on technology, science, engineering, software positions, career marketplace helps technology professionals manage careers with resume writing, self-assessment, skills training; parent firm DHI Group a provider of AI-powered software products, online tools)
ClearanceJobs (a leading database of professionals with active US government security clearances, with over 1 million registered security-cleared candidates, professionals receive career advice and real-time connections with approved employers; operated by DHI Group, same parent firm as Dice.com)
FinanceJobs.net (leading site for jobs in finance, including accounting, finance, bookkeeping, chief financial officers, controller, and accounts payable),
efinancialcareers (operates in 19 markets across North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific, connects finance professionals to companies seeking Investment Bankers, Traders, Asset Managers, Relationship Managers, Treasurers, Risk Managers, Auditors, Business Analysts, Actuaries, Graduate Trainees)
Engineering Daily (job listings of leading engineering positions published by industry's leading news publication)
HealthJobsNationwide (largest US site for health care jobs, including physicians, dentists, nurses, medical assistants, technicians, administrators, human resources)
The Write Jobs (listings for editors, writers, freelancers, technical writers, journalists, copywriters, medical writers, social media)
Mediabistro (media and content professional jobs in digital, print, TV, video, resume writing tools, online courses)
SalesGravy (sales talent sourcing and job recruiting, also employer sales training and productivity resources)
Idealist (jobs, volunteer and internship openings in nonprofits such as government, education, charities, founded 1995, connected more than 130,000 organizations,: posted close to a million jobs and hundreds of thousands of internships and volunteer opportunities; organizes graduate-school fairs to help advance social impact)
LawJobs.com (job search website designed for practicing attorneys and in-house counsel, searching by keyword or location, practice area or job type)
VetJobs.com (employment placement, gap skills vocational training, and career development assistance for transitioning military, National Guard, Reserves, and veterans from all branches).
Traditional employment agencies and executive search firms, which may be retained by either employers or job-seekers to assist in the hiring process, also have developed digital applications to complement their past outreach based on personal knowledge and contacts. To a large extent, these firms focus on senior level positions which allow higher commissions based on salaries of those whom they have secured employment. Staff recruiters within these firms often have information on firms which may be hiring even if the jobs aren't yet publicly posted and they also may be helpful in advising applicants on how to edit their resumes, prepare for interviews and possibly seek additional training or education to improve their chances of being hired. Some firms also specialize in specific industries or job categories like human resources, clerical, finance, accounting or law.
Selected resources include:
* Kelly Services (one of oldest firms, founded 1946 as temporary help firm focused on clerical positions, now expanded into wider range of job categories, works with 90 of Fortune 100 and more than 1 million workers annually, NJ branches in New Brunswick, Somerset, Lyndhurst, Parsippany, East Brunswick) * HeadhuntersDirectory.com (national Web site with lists and links to executive search and staffing firms by state) * Snelling (one of oldest and largest US staffing firms founded 1951, 110 offices, including Princeton and Summit) * Spencer Stuart (senior-level executive and board director searches, over 70 global offices, 30 countries and more than 50 practice specialties) * Robert Half (oldest US staffing firm founded 1948, more than 400 locations worldwide, NJ offices in Woodbridge, Jersey City, Bridgewater, Parsippany, Princeton, Red Bank, Moorestown; specialized divisions include Robert Half®Management Resources- for temporary, full-time and senior-level accounting and finance project professionals; OfficeTeam®-highly skilled office and administrative support professionals; Robert Half®Technology-information technology; Robert Half®Legal-temporary, project and full-time staffing of attorneys, paralegals legal support personnel; The Creative Group®-interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals) * Korn / Ferry International (Global executive search search firm specializing in life sciences and pharmaceutical industry placements) * Russell Reynolds (founded 1966, nearly 50 offices around world, 13 in US, conducts searches for top executives and board directors) * The Lion Group (national legal recruiting firm based in Florham Park, focus on positions in law firms, corporate counsel and legal staffs) * Princeton Legal Search Group (national firm with offices in Princeton and Woodbridge, clients include law firms, corporate legal departments, non-profits and higher education) * Kforce (focus on technology, finance and accounting professionals, annually serves 30,000 professionals, works with some 3,000 client employers)
Industrial Workers of the World pageant poster of the Paterson strike that was performed at Madison Square Garden on June 7, 1913 in support of strike at silk and textile factories. Image: Wikimedia Commons
- Work-from-Home and Freelance Jobs
Even before the global COVID-19 Pandemic brought a rapid surge in the number of workers remaining at home, growing numbers of people, aided by communications technologies such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Slack, Google, along with access to cloud computing and email, found that they could work productively from a home office or other remote location. Employers with work-from-anywhere policies also were reported to experience higher employee productivity, reduced turnover, and lower office and administrative costs, In many cases, employers also were able to retain or recruit employees on a full- or part-time basis who otherwise would not have been able to work due to child or elder care responsibilities. Some workers also prefer the freedom of freelance positions which avoid commitments to one employer or allow a limited period in which the worker and employer can evaluate whether they each wish to enter a more permanent employment relationship.
According to the job site FlexJobs, the 10 fastest-growing remote job categories in 2021 are: marketing, administrative, human resources and recruiting, accounting and finance, graphic design, customer service, writing, mortgage and real estate, Internet and e-commerce, and project management.
FlexJobs.(focus on work-from-home, flexible hour, short-term and freelance jobs, hiring information on over 50,000 companies)
Fiverr (focus on freelancers who post skills and experience, particularly in graphic design, web services, editing, music, acting, voiceovers, marketing)
Freelancer; (world's largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by number of users and projects, works globally in some 250 countries, regions and territories)
SnagAJob (largest platform for hourly work, with 100 million registered job seekers and job opportunities at 700,000 employer locations in US and Canada, search for specific jobs by title, industry or company, and filter results by location)
Upwork (workforce of independent freelance talent matched to employer short- or long-term opportunities)
24 Seven (talent recruitment company specializing in freelance, temporary, and remote jobs in writing, marketing, graphic design, internet & ecommerce, staffing for marketing, creative, technology, and digital jobs).
Print newspaper classified job sections, once a primary source for job searches, have been complemented, indeed largely supplanted, by digital versions published by their parent media companies. Both the print and digital job sites are often more helpful in searching for local opportunities than the larger sites. In addition to the traditional classified sites, newer sites like Craigslist and Facebook also have local job listings. Some of the digital sites of traditional newspaper classified job publishers in New Jersey include: * NJ.com (job section of NJ's most visited Web site and largest newspaper publisher including the Star-Ledger, Trenton Times, others) * NorthJersey.com (job section of Gannett-owned North Jersey publications with focus on Bergen-Passaic region) * Asbury Park Press (job section of Gannett-owned Asbury Park Press focused on Monmouth, Ocean counties) * Press of Atlantic City (job section focused on Atlantic, Cape May counties) * Courier-Post (job section focused on Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Burlington counties) * Daily Journal (job section focused on Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Atlantic counties) * Daily Record (job section focused on Morris County area) * Trentonian (job section focused on Mercer, Burlington counties)
Federal, state and local governments are the largest employment sector in New Jersey. A survey published of 2018 data reported that 14.5% of the state's workers (excluding military) were employed by federal, state or local governments. In 2020, there were just over 48,000 federal employees in the state and the governor's fiscal year 2022 budget (July 1,2021-June 30,2022) reported a total of approximately 65,000 state government employees (excluding employees in higher education and public authorities).
While salary levels may be somewhat below comparable private sector positions, some applicants see advantages in job security, health and pension benefits as outweighing lower compensation. The highest federal government pay grade (designated as GS-15) has a starting annual salary for employees in 2021 at $109,366 per year ($52.40 per hour) with stepped increases to a maximum possible base pay of $142,180 (with the GS-15 level roughly equivalent to the military salary level of an Army colonel).
The governor and state treasurer have $175,000 annual salaries set by law, but a few other positions are paid more based on the perception that recruitment and retention would be difficult in comparison to much higher compensation offered in the private sector, such as the $200,000 salary of the state pension director and the $280,000 salary of the president of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority..
Among local governments, the largest employment sector is education, with just under 130,000 full-time teachers employed in public schools in 2020-21. Median salary ranges according to state data included District Superintendents $174,689; Principals $132,019; and Classroom Teachers $72,515. For local police forces, the median Police Officer salary in New Jersey was $85,600 as of October 2021, but the range can vary widely, typically falling between $69,000 and $95,500,, according to the Web site Salary.com.
In the fall of 2021, the web site HigherEdJobs.com listed just under 30,000 available jobs posted in New Jersey higher education. Rutgers University had total employment in the 2019-2020 academic year of over 8,700 full- and part-time faculty and nearly 15,000 full- and part-time staff.
Although a relatively small share of total employment in higher education, top administrators and faculty receive high levels of compensation, with salaries complemented by additional benefits in subsidized housing or other personal financial aid, along with the opportunity to supplement income through institutional or outside grants for research or special projects.
Rutgers University had total employment in the 2019-2020 academic year of over 8,700 full- and part-time faculty and nearly 15,000 full- and part-time staff. University presidents usually are at the top of higher education compensation levels; in the academic year beginning in fall 2021, for example, Rutgers newly-appointed president received at total package of nearly $1.2 million, which included a base salary of $780,000 plus cash bonuses and perquisites such as a free house and car.
Among private universities, in the most recent survey of faculty salaries (for the 2018-19 academic year) by the American Association of University Professors, Princeton University easily led all New Jersey-based higher education institutions with an average salary for full professors of $248,000. Other public and private average full professor salaries included Rutgers New Brunswick $167,600; New Jersey Institute of Technology $186,700; Stockton University $124,200; Montclair State University $ 123,900; Saint Peter's University $102,800; Centenary University $94,800; and Monmouth University $131,700. In addition to the highest compensation levels for top administrators and faculty, New Jersey higher education institutions also have thousands of additional jobs at lower compensation levels, such as in maintenance, food service and security. In the academic year which commenced in fall 2021, there were severe shortages in filling these positions attributed largely to the trends caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, which pressured some institutions to increase their lowest wage rates well above the $12-15 hourly pay levels.
Johnson & Johnson corporate headquarters in New Brunswick. Image: NewJerseyAlmanac.com
As outlined above, the overall New Jersey health sector is the largest component of private sector jobs. Its wide scope includes major pharmaceutical, medical device and other life science firms, along with health care providers and services such as hospitals, nursing homes, home health care, and related sources of jobs.
According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, there were nearly 1,600 life sciences establishments operating statewide in 2019, with the state’s pharmaceutical sector growing by 15% between 2014 and 2019. With Johnson & Johnson as the most prominent name located in the state, 14 of the world’s 20 largest research-based biopharmaceutical companies and 11 of the world’s 20 largest medical technology companies maintain a headquarters or significant presence in New Jersey.
A leading factor in the state's attraction for these firms is its workforce, with the state having the highest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the nation and the third leading state in the number of employed biochemists and biophysicists. Ongoing research in the state also places New Jersey, according the industry trade association HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, as the leading state for the number of heart and stroke medicines and the second-leading state for cancer medicines currently in development. Compensation levels for top executives and researchers reflect the high values placed on their roles; in 2020, for example, the chief executive of Johnson & Johnson received over $23 million in salary and benefits, with base pay and cash bonuses of $4.8 million and an additional $18 million in stock bonuses and options.
New Jersey’s acute care hospitals accounted for nearly 120,000 full-time equivalent jobs and total employment of over 154,000 full- and part-time positions with over $9 billion in total salaries, according to a report released in 2020 (utilizing data for 2018) published by the New Jersey Hospital Association. As of October 2021, the average annual pay for a hospital CEO in New Jersey was $205,384 annually, with salary ranges as high as $286,411 and as low as $143,683, according to a survey by ZipRecruiter based on its database of active jobs. As in other job sectors, there is wide disparity in compensation levels. Physicians, scientists, chief executives, and health services managers together make up only about 5% of this workforce, but have mean earnings that far exceed those of workers in the lowest-paid health jobs such as those employed in health care support, food preparation, security guards, couriers, orderlies and housekeepers, who have annual average salaries throughout the nation in the vicinity of $30,000--an amount which would not constitute a living wage throughout much of the US and certainly not in New Jersey with its high costs of living.
Law enforcement positions in New Jersey are available at the federal, state and local levels. The FBI maintains nine offices in New Jersey, with its regional headquarters in Newark. Minimum requirements for being hired as an FBI Special Agent are being between the ages of 23 and 36, (with some exceptions for military veterans); having a 4-year college degree; and two years of professional work experience. Additionally, the FBI hires specialized professionals to assist in investigations, surveillance and analysis. Special Agent annual salary level ranges begin while in the five-month training period in the mid-$40K level and can grow to over $120,000 for senior agents.
For the State Police, the starting salary for a trooper is $64,955 (including uniform allowance), with the second-year total compensation significantly increasing to $70,790 and the top pay at $123,545. Applicants must be between 21 and 35 years old and have a bachelor’s degree, or lesser educational experience supplemented by work experience or military service. Other state law enforcement and security positions are available in state parks; the marine police; and wildlife regulation. . Most law enforcement jobs are at the local level due to the majority of the state's 565 municipalities conducting independent hiring (with exceptions in Camden and Bergen counties. and hiring by county sheriff offices). Salary ranges vary widely by locality and experience. In September 2021, a police officer position in Newark was posted at a $66,867 annual salary, according to Indeed.com. .An NJ Advance Media analysis, however, of public employee salary data as of the end of 2016.found that the median salary for more than 19,000 municipal police officers in New Jersey was $105,106. According to the survey, officers in Saddle River were paid a median salary of $155,508--the highest in the state--and 60% of municipal police officers in the state made at least $100,000 in 2016 * FBI Careers and Training in New Jersey, FBI.gov * Salaries and Benefits, New Jersey State Police Recruiting * New Jersey Police Department Jobs, PoliceApp.com (listings of local police jobs with salary ranges by commercial Web site) * New Jersey Police and Security Jobs, Indeed.com (police, correctional and security job listings section of Indeed.com) * Police Officer Jobs in New Jersey, Monster.com (listings by national competitor of Indeed.com) * Recruiting, NJ State Police (information on current openings, requirements) * Cops in N.J. now earn over $100K, NJ.com
Nonprofit organizations provide a wide range of services, with positions in charities, education, science, art, philanthropy, religion and many more areas and causes. While some nonprofits seek volunteers or unpaid help, most offer full- or part-time jobs with salaries and benefits, In New Jersey, the leading association comprised of nonprofits is the Center for Non-Profits, which posts available jobs at its member organizations and lists events which may provide networking opportunities for job-seekers.. .
Idealist.org (jobs, volunteer and internship openings in nonprofits such as government, education, charities, founded 1995, connected more than 130,000 organizations,: posted close to a million jobs and hundreds of thousands of internships and volunteer opportunities; organizes graduate-school fairs to help advance social impact)
Additional training is often suggested to advance career goals or meet qualifications for skilled positions or promotions within a firm of a current employer. Some employers offer their own internal job training programs while other training options may be available through government or nonprofit organizations. In New Jersey, the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development posts helpful links to state and industry-specific training opportunities. * NJ Training Opportunities (published by Department of Labor & Workforce Development with listing of all schools and organizations offering occupational education and job training programs eligible to receive publicly funded tuition assistance) * Local Workforce Development Boards (links to county and regional business-led boards which identify needs of local job market and direct workforce investment and job training programs) * Rutgers Corporate Employee & Training (on-site customized workforce training programs offered by Rutgers University Office of Continuing Professional Education) *.Adult Basic Education Programs (NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development site with links to English language, literacy and other programs by county) * CareerOneStop.org (training resources sponsored by US Department of Labor, allows searches of directory of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act training services) * JobCorps.org (national residential education program for young people ages 16- 24 with training for specific careers and employment)