Everything you should know before hiring private contractors for your business

woman talking on phone call smart phone earphones
Hiring independent contractors instead of employees can save you 15 to 30% on payroll taxes and benefits.

  • Hiring private contractors can be tricky when it comes to properly filing taxes and worker’s comp insurance.
  • If a contractor functions like a full-time employee, misclassifying them which invite hefty penalty fees.
  • If you operate in multiple states, adjust your policies to follow the state with the strictest laws.

Jessica Stuart learned the hard way the risks of relying on independent contractors. In 2016, her Washington, DC-based production company, Long Story Short Media, filmed in 40 states and hired local crews for each project. The next year, it got slapped with an insurance audit, requiring Stuart to get proof from each of her vendors that they all carried workers’ compensation insurance – or be on the hook for back payments.

“It took us down this massive rabbit hole,” she said, “looking at: Is it 52¢ or $100 that we owe to Montana, because we filmed there for two days?” Many companies rely on employer of record firms – like TriNet or NPI – to avoid headaches. But if you plan to handle compliance in-house, here’s what to know.

Know your ABCs

Federal and state worker-classification laws vary widely, so consult with a lawyer who’s well-versed in the rules everywhere you operate, said Tracey Diamond, a labor and employment attorney at law firm Troutman Pepper. In some states, independent contractor relationships are subject to the “ABC test,” meaning you must show that a) the contractor’s work is not under your company’s direction and control, b) it is outside the course of your company’s usual business, and c) the contractor has an independent business to do that work.

Beware the permalancer trap

If a contractor works for you full time and has no other clients, and you’re exercising control over that contractor’s work, it’s time to consider reclassification, said Craig Gehring, cofounder and CEO of MasteryPrep, a test-preparation company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that employs about 50 staffers and 150 contractors.

“Let’s say we have this person who’s writing items for us every day, and they’re following all our guidelines, and they’re coming to all of our company meetings. They’re just an employee at that point,” Gehring said. “Let’s not try to figure out how we can color outside the lines.”

Gauge your risk tolerance

Hiring independent contractors instead of employees can save you 15 to 30% on payroll taxes and benefits, said Richard Reibstein, co-head of law firm Locke Lord’s independent contractor compliance practice. But if you’re caught misclassifying, what you’ll owe in back taxes, benefits pay­ments, fines, and federal penalties could easily obliterate those savings. And that’s if you don’t get sued. If you operate in multiple states, Gehring advises mitigating that risk by tailoring your policies to the one with the strictest laws.

As for Stuart? Well, she’s found that strict compliance has been well worth the cost. Her company still hires contractors, but it now has 27 full-timers on its staff. Monthly overhead has more than doubled since 2016, but profit margins have also increased. “It was an investment,” she said. “But in terms of the trajectory of the company, we’ve grown exponentially ever since.”

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33 startup companies that are currently hiring remote workers

A man working from home with a dog on his lap
In amidst of The Great Resignation, 33 companies are rising as the top startups to work for remotely

  • More people are looking for jobs with flexibility to work from home amid the ‘Great Resignation.’
  • LinkedIn recently released its 2021 Top Startups list featuring businesses that are hiring remotely.
  • From Daily Harvet to Cameo, here are 33 companies hiring with remote work availability.

Looking for a new gig? You’re not alone. 55% of us are planning to find a new job this year, according to a recent Bankrate survey, and the phenomenon even has a name: The Great Resignation. One big reason why many employees are looking to make a change is the need for flexibility – both in terms of hours and working location. Remote jobs typically offer both in spades, and who doesn’t love being able to put on a load of laundry between conference calls?

LinkedIn just released its 2021 Top Startups list, ranking companies that are providing the benefits and perks employees want most now.

“In addition to remote and hybrid models, many of the companies are supporting their workers with WFH stipends, increased mental health benefits, virtual trainings, and upskilling opportunities to help people succeed in this new normal,” said LinkedIn Senior Editor at Large Jessi Hempel.

The majority of the startups listed are embracing remote and hybrid roles. Of the 50 startups, 33 are actively hiring remote roles, and some companies have quite a few jobs available.

One of them is Gemini, a next-generation cryptocurrency platform currently hiring more than 325 remote roles. “We see hiring remote employees as an opportunity not only to expand our talent pool but also to expand diversity of background in the crypto industry as a whole,” said Gemini’s Director of Talent Acquisition Jonathan Tamblyn. “By hiring for skills, knowledge, and potential first rather than geography, we are able to hire employees that represent the populations we want to empower through crypto – particularly women and minorities – who have traditionally been underrepresented in the industry.”

Another company is Gong, a revenue intelligence platform based in Palo Alto, California, that has more than 425 remote roles open now.

“Hiring remotely has enabled our team composition to reflect the diversity of our customers and hire in communities where talented residents want more opportunities to shine professionally,” said Sandi Kochhar, chief people officer at Gong.

Here’s a look at all of the companies from the recent LinkedIn Top Startups list that are hiring remote positions. Good luck! You got this!


Better is a fintech company located in New York City aiming to improve the home buying and financing process. Remote jobs available include mortgage underwriter, senior UX writer, and creative designer.


Glossier is a makeup and skincare company based in New York City that was started by beauty editors and is primarily direct-to-consumer but has a growing physical footprint. Remote jobs include lead front end engineer and creative operations project manager.


Brex is aiming to be the “all-in-one” finance option for businesses – offering high-limit credit cards, business accounts, a rewards program, expense tracking, and more. Small office hubs are located in San Francisco, New York City, Salt Lake City, and Vancouver, B.C. Remote jobs include art director and manager of social and community support.


Attentive is a personalized text messaging platform built for innovative e-commerce brands based in New York City. Remote jobs include mid-market sales manager and web marketing manager.


Outreach is an integrated business-to-business platform helping companies drive sales based in Seattle. Remote jobs include corporate counsel, and product and senior email deliverability specialists.


Gong is a revenue intelligence platform based in Palo Alto, with more than 425 active remote roles. Remote jobs include senior user researcher and in-house counsel.


Based in New York City, MikMak is a digital platform for consumer product companies that enables multi-retailer checkout by shoppers and insights solutions to help brands better understand customer behavior. Remote jobs include VP of sales operations and director of product marketing.


Located in Alpharetta, Georgia, Gravy is a “virtual retention” startup helping subscription-based businesses retain their customers through remedying failed payments. Remote jobs include account manager and sales development representative.

Daily Harvest

Daily Harvest is a plant-based meal delivery service providing a range of smoothies, flatbreads, desserts, snacks, and more through a subscription-based model. (You may have seen their mouthwatering ads on Instagram recently!) The company is based in New York City. Remote jobs include software engineering manager and senior strategic analytics associate.


Based in Chicago, Cameo is a video-sharing platform where celebrities and public figures send personalized video messages to fans. Remote jobs include QA automation engineer and lifecycle marketing lead.


A tech wellness company in Los Angeles, Therabody is best known for the “Theragun,” a popular massage-therapy device intended to reduce muscle tension and accelerate recovery. Remote jobs include a quality manager and a copywriter.


Ramp is a corporate credit card company based in New York City that helps business owners save money via expense management, savings opportunities, receipt matching, and other services. Remote jobs include demand generation lead and product and regulatory counsel.


GitLab, a DevOps platform, helps companies deliver software faster and more efficiently from its headquarters in San Francisco. Remote jobs include backend engineering manager, pipeline execution, and senior technical content editor.


Based in Palo Alto, Medable is a global platform aiming to get effective therapies to patients quickly, minimizing the need for in-person clinical visits. Remote jobs include HR systems manager and android developer.

Guild Education

Based out of Denver, Colorado, Guild Education works with employers to help them provide strategic education and upskilling programs for employees. Remote jobs include vice president of operations and technical marketing operations manager.


Drift is a conversational marketing platform based in Boston that is designed to enhance the digital buying experience, including features like an AI-powered chatbot and customizable live chat widgets. Remote jobs include onboarding manager and manager of conversation design.


Headquartered in New York City, Ro is a health care company that provides virtual primary care services by connecting telehealth, diagnostics, and pharmacy delivery. Remote jobs include associate director of member experience, systems and platforms, and associate manager of offline marketing.


BlockFi is a financial services company where clients can buy, sell and earn cryptocurrency, based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Remote jobs include manager of retention and loyalty marketing and director of program management.

Scale AI

Scale Al, which is based in San Francisco, is a platform that helps machine learning teams process their data faster and accurately and helps companies supercharge their artificial intelligence efforts. Remote jobs include an IT operations manager.

Hawke Media

Hawke Media is a marketing consultancy working to grow brands of all sizes, industries, and business models in Santa Monica, California. Remote jobs include content editor, social media, and influencer marketing manager.

Boom Supersonic

Based in Denver, Boom Supersonic is developing a high-speed airliner built to transport passengers at twice the speed of traditional planes. Remote jobs include senior creative director and recruiter.


From Bend, Oregon, dutchie is a technology platform that enables cannabis dispensaries to set up e-commerce operations. Remote jobs include strategic finance associate and manager of database reliability.

Lyra Health

Lyra Health is an online mental health counseling platform based out of Burlingame, California, that provides therapy and mental health services. Remote jobs include event marketing coordinator and product design manager.


Getaway is a hospitality company in Brooklyn that offers modern cabin rentals that are two hours from major urban centers. Remote jobs include reservations manager and head of growth.

Catalyst Software

Based out of New York City, Catalyst Software helps sales and customer teams connect the various tools they use into a centralized data-driven view of how a client is doing. Remote jobs include engineering manager on the customer success intelligence team and sales development representative.


Rubrik is a cloud-based platform based in Palo Alto that helps companies with data management. Remote jobs include professional services consultants.


Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange in New York City, that enables users to buy, sell and store digital assets. The more than 325 remote jobs available include engineering manager for credit cards, associate director of technical accounting, and senior software engineer.


ClickUp’s app combines task management, goal setting, calendars, to-do lists, and an inbox so that teams can be more productive. Headquartered in San Diego, remote jobs include program coaches and professional services consultants.


Superhuman, out of San Francisco, wants you to have a better, faster email experience, and they are “re-imagining the inbox” to make it more efficient. Remote jobs include senior mobile engineer and product marketing manager.


Based in San Francisco, Innovaccer curates the world’s health care information to make it more accessible and useful for providers and organizations. Remote jobs include platform data architect and senior director of healthcare AI.


Flowcode allows users to create customized, advanced Quick Response (QR) codes that never expire, making it easier for companies to directly connect their customers to digital resources. Based in New York City, the company is hiring for a remote product analyst.


Based in Palo Alto, Jerry helps car owners save money on vehicle insurance. Remote jobs include associate editor and writer/editor.


Headquartered in Atlanta and London, OneTrust helps companies manage privacy, security, and governance requirements through its compliance software. Remote jobs include UI architects.

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US job openings slide for the first time in 6 months in August – and more people quit than ever

Hiring fair Florida coronavirus
A man hands his resume to an employer at the 25th annual Central Florida Employment Council Job Fair at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

  • US job openings dropped to 10.4 million from 11.1 million in August, according to JOLTS data published Wednesday.
  • The reading missed the median estimate of 10.9 million openings and snapped a five-month streak of record highs.
  • The report also shows openings continuing to exceed workers and hiring slowing sharply.

Job openings fell for the first time in six months as the labor market’s recovery slumped in August.

Openings fell to 10.4 million from 11.1 million, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, data published Tuesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected openings to drop to 10.93 million. The reading marks the first decline since December 2020.

The report signals the labor shortage still going strong in August as the Delta wave intensified. Openings first shot higher through the spring as businesses struggled to attract workers. The labor shortage quickly led some firms to raise wages, while others waited for the virus threat to fade. And while job creation boomed through the summer, openings kept rising to fresh records.

August payroll growth shows Delta’s impact on job creation. The US economy added just 366,000 jobs that month, down from the 1.1-million-payroll gain seen in July and less than half the median forecast. The Delta variant was now officially hampering the hiring recovery, and September gains weren’t any better. Data out Friday showed the US creating just 194,000 payrolls last month, marking the smallest one-month gain of the pandemic era.

The August JOLTS data suggests labor demand held strong amid the hiring slowdown. The worker-to-opening ratio tells a similar story. There were roughly 0.8 available workers for every job opening in August, matching the July reading and ending a steady decline. Readings below mean there are more listings than workers to fill them, and the ratio first fell below 1 in June.

Typically, an abundance of openings comes late in economic expansions. Yet the extraordinary amount of unfilled postings pulled the ratio below zero far more quickly than in past recoveries.

Separately, quits rocketed to a record-high 4.3 million from 4 million in August. Quits have been elevated throughout the spring and summer as workers ditch their old jobs for new work. The extraordinary amount of quitting shows Americans’ confidence in their ability to find work. Still, the shakeup is sure to slow the return to pre-pandemic employment levels.

Where Americans can find jobs and where they’re leaving them

The JOLTS data lags the government’s payrolls reports by one month, meaning some takeaways are already stale by the time they’re published. Still, the Tuesday report reveals just where labor demand is booming and where it’s drying up.

Openings dropped the most in the health care and social assistance sector, with related businesses losing 224,000 postings. Hotels, restaurants, and bars shed 178,000 openings, and public schools cut 124,000 openings. Despite the declines, the three sectors still count for a great deal of the country’s job openings.

Openings increased by 22,000 across federal government roles, according to the report.

The sectors with the biggest declines in openings also saw quits soar. Quits rose at hotels, restaurants, and bars by 157,000, while they increased by 25,000 at public schools. The wholesale trade sector gained 26,000 quits in August as well.

With Delta case counts ripping higher throughout the month, the latest data reflects an exodus from in-person jobs. Just as the August jobs report showed hiring following the path of the virus, the JOLTS data suggest service businesses will struggle to fill openings until the coronavirus poses less of a threat.

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Businesses say as many as 90% of candidates don’t turn up to job interviews and some quit soon after being hired. ‘You’re basically hiring anyone that would show up.’

sad waiter barista
Many new hires don’t turn up for their first shift, according to business owners.

  • Businesses across the US say job applicants keep failing to show for interviews.
  • Some say as many as 90% of candidates don’t turn up for their scheduled interview.
  • In some cases, candidates accept a job but they either don’t show up for their shift or they quit.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Paul Horton closed his taco restaurant down in mid-September after being left with just two kitchen staff members.

Horton told Insider he’d spent thousands of dollars advertising jobs at Taco Crush – but that only around 10% of applicants replied after he tried to arrange an interview.

Of those who he scheduled interviews with, only between 5% and 10% turned up, he said.

“You can’t be choosy anymore,” Horton said. “You’re basically hiring anyone that would show up.”

Taco Crush isn’t alone. Other businesses across the US said job applicants keep failing to show up for interviews amid a scramble for staff to plug their labor shortages.

Some companies said the shortage is down to staff not wanting to work – whereas staff say they want better pay and working conditions if they’re going to stick around.

Some of the businesses Insider spoke to said as many as 90% of candidates didn’t show up for interviews, and that some new hires didn’t turn up to their first shift, or that they quit after just a few weeks.

Most of the employers said they didn’t know the reason behind the no-shows or quick exits.

Hiking pay doesn’t work

Yolanda Garcia and Jesse Hoover, who own Cafe Elk Grove in Elk Grove, California, told Insider that they “tend to get a ton of applicants” for job vacancies, but nine out of 10 people don’t show up for their interviews.

“We’ve even had people accept the position, just not show up the next day, no call, no show, no nothing,” Hoover said. “So it’s just basically wasting our time.”

Garcia said the cafe has raised some starting wages from $14 an hour to $22 “and they’re still not showing up.”

“That still doesn’t seem to have helped much, in terms of getting people to actually show up for the interviews and then getting people to accept the position,” Hoover added.

It’s a similar situation at a chocolate restaurant in Denver, which has just five workers, down from 16 before the pandemic.

Owner Phil Simonson told Insider he had hiked wages from $11.75 to up to $15 an hour with tips in some cases and introduced health benefits, but half of the people who arrange interviews don’t turn up.

Jonathan Bergstein, owner of Maid to Sparkle, a residential cleaning service in Richmond, Virginia, said he’d started offering hiring bonuses of between $200 and $300 in the hope that it would make more people show up to interviews.

Bergstein said some people used excuses like family emergencies for not attending the interview. He thought, however, that some of them may have scheduled the interviews just so that they could prove they were applying to jobs to claim unemployment benefits.

Workers quit soon after being hired

Mirna McCormack is struggling to staff her business, Korner Cafe, in Lewisville, Texas. She said that a lot of candidates didn’t show up to interviews, or would quit after around two weeks.

Gary Beggs, co-owner of Abba Staffing and Consulting in Texas, echoed the struggle of retaining employees.

“It takes, in our case, about 10 applicants to get one who’s really interested,” he told Insider. Of these, between 60% and 70% of candidates didn’t show up for interviews, he said.

“It’s shocking how many of them no-show on the first day,” Beggs said, adding that a lot of people were applying passively for jobs that they may not have been interested in.

“The electronic applications make it very easy to apply for jobs,” he said. “People apply for jobs they don’t really care about or aren’t qualified for.”

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3 millennial cofounders created a job platform that looks like TikTok and works with Panda Express, H&M, and Everlane

Three men sit in a grocery store looking at the camera smiling
(L-R) Tristian Petit, Adrien Dewulf and Cyriac Lefort

  • Heroes is a social networking job platform that targets Gen Zers looking for retail and hospitality work.
  • The platform resembles TikTok and allows individuals to submit video job applications.
  • This is part of Insider’s entrepreneur series Star, Rising which highlights early entrepreneurs and businesses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Name: Cyriac Lefort, Tristan Petit, Adrien Dewulf

Age: 28, 28, 27

Location: New York City, New York, and Los Angeles, California

Business: A social networking job platform that targets Gen Zers looking for retail and hospitality work.

Backstory: Lefort and Petit were childhood friends in France and met Dewulf, who grew up in Belgium, in 2016 while the trio was studying in London.

As Lefort, Petit, and Dewulf perused employment sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, they felt the platforms didn’t target younger jobseekers like themselves. When they launched Heroes in 2019, they kept those customers in mind-the platform resembles TikTok, allows individuals to submit video job applications, and lets employers share day-in-the-life videos of workers.

Additionally, job seekers on Heroes can add context and clarity to their resumes, including situations like employment gaps, Lefort said. “The job application was broken for people our age,” he told Insider.

Gen Z represents about 30% of the global population and is estimated to become about 27% of the workforce by 2025, according to research company McCrindle.

Screegrab of the profile of someone using the Heroes app
Screegrab of the profile of someone using the Heroes app.

Growth: Heroes closed a $6 million seed round in 2020, led by Greg McAdoo of venture capital firm Bolt. McAdoo was the first investor of Airbnb. Additionally, Heroes raised a $1.5 million pre-seed round in 2019. Panda Express, Wendy’s, Everlane, and Abercrombie and Fitch are clients and, this summer, Heroes began working with retail giant H&M.

“These accomplishments in a year are exciting for the future – it shows Gen Zers are really grasping what we build,” Lefort said.

Before Heroes: Petit and Lefort earned their masters’ degrees from the London School of Economics in 2015 and 2016, respectively, before launching a non-profit called W Project which studied global entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, Dewulf, who graduated from the University of Warwick in 2016, ran a lightning company called Victor between 2016 to 2018. They all left their jobs in 2018 to move to the US and launch Heroes.

Challenges: During the pandemic, Heroes saw retail and restaurant close, negating their needs for talent. Meanwhile, the company balanced the growing need for virtual interviews from the employers who remained open.

Business advice: “Focus on hiring to build a better company – you have to hire people who know things you don’t know,” Lefort said. “What they’re doing can bring real value.”

Business mentor: The trio counts McAdoo as a mentor, who has advised them how to enter the US marketplace. Additionally, Nicole Johnson at VC firm Forerunner Venture helped them build a marketing strategy and connect with strategic partners.

A screengrab showing the behind the scenes of what its like to work at Panda Express
Heroes just launched a feed that allows users to scroll through an explore tab and see what its like to work at the companies which interest them

Why now is the best time to start a business: Out of crisis often comes innovation, such as Airbnb’s birth during the 2008 recession, Petit said. Heroes come as The Great Resignation continues to take hold in the US, where both hiring practices and workplace environments are under fire.

“A lot of companies have to challenge their recruitment process and rethink how they interact with younger generations,” Petit said. “There’s a huge opportunity here to figure out how to help these companies.”

On hiring: There are currently 25 people on the team and they are actively looking to expand, especially to help build out more of the social tech elements of the platform, Petit said.

Managing burnout: The trio makes sure to take screen breaks and go outside for sports and jogging. They also make sure to read books and spend time with friends.

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Maine’s oldest Indian restaurant closed its dining room because it couldn’t find enough waiters and chefs, the son of its owners said

A man walks by a "Now Hiring" sign outside a store on August 16, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
Restaurant staff have been leaving the industry in search of better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

  • A Indian restaurant in Maine said it pivoted to takeout and delivery only due to staff shortages.
  • It currently has around six members of staff, compared to between 10 and 12 in a typical summer.
  • “It’s just really hard to find Indian labor in the state of Maine,” the owners’ son said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An Indian restaurant said to be the oldest in Maine has shut its dining room because it can’t find enough staff, according to the son of its owners.

Van Sharma, whose parents own the Bombay Mahal restaurant in Brunswick, southern Maine, said that the labor shortage had hit it harder than others because it has a specific difficulty: recruiting Indian workers.

“It’s just really hard to find Indian labor in the state of Maine,” Sharma told Insider. “Indian people, Indian chefs, Indian waiters, they have no desire on wanting to come to Maine for work, regardless of the opportunity.”

Sharma added that workers would sometimes come to Maine but leave after a few weeks because of how rural it is and how few people of color live there. “They love to concentrate in more Asian-concentrated neighborhoods or areas of the US,” he said, naming New York City, New Jersey, Texas, and California.

Maine is the least diverse state in the US, according to 2020 Census data.

Sharma said that he’d used some US recruitment companies that specialize in South Asian workers but that “essentially every single one of them is extremely dry on talent.”

This was coupled with a lack of interest from seasonal workers, including college students, whom Sharma said usually made up a large part of the restaurant’s staffing during the summer. Workers have been leaving the industry in search of better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Sharma said that Bombay Mahal had been “highly understaffed” throughout the pandemic but “right now is probably the rock bottom in regards to actual staffing.” He said that the restaurant currently had around six members of staff compared with the 10 to 12 it had in a typical summer.

The restaurant closed its dining room and pivoted to takeout and delivery-only about a month ago. Other restaurants across the US have shut their dining rooms or cut their opening hours.

Sharma said that Bombay Mahal was advertising roles with base pay of $15 an hour. He said that staff were also offered meal allowances, performance bonuses, and a family-style lunch each day.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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An NYC restaurant owner raised staff wages to $25 an hour. She’s had no trouble recruiting – but still doesn’t think she pays employees enough.

Waiter Niven Bodi Reddy sets a table inside the Ely wine Bar, on Ely place in Dublin, where they will reopen for indoor dining on Thursday July 29.
Across the US, restaurant workers have been demanding better pay and working conditions.

  • A Manhattan restaurant owner raised prices so she could pay all staff a $25-an-hour starting wage.
  • “I still don’t think we pay them enough,” Amanda Cohen, owner of Dirt Candy, told Insider.
  • Restaurants are struggling to find staff – but Cohen says she hasn’t had “a single problem.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Manhattan restaurant owner thinks the $25-an-hour starting wage she pays her staff still isn’t high enough.

Amanda Cohen, who owns vegetarian tasting restaurant Dirt Candy, hiked up wages when she reopened indoor dining in May 2021, after realizing how badly some workers struggled financially during lockdown.

Cohen said she previously thought she paid her staff a decent wage, but that it became clear she was not paying them enough. The pandemic forced her to close her restaurant in March 2020 and lay off her 30 employees.

“I know none of them have enough savings to weather this,” she told Insider. “I want my staff to have more.”

While the restaurant was closed, she decided that she’d raise wages when she reopened.

The chefs were previously paid between $18 and $21 an hour and front-of-house staff between $23 and $25. Now their wages all start at $25, with built-in raises based on the length of service, she said.

“I still don’t think we pay them enough,” she said.

Cohen said that even before the pandemic, the restaurant industry was rife with poaching and had “really turned into this gig economy where these cooking jobs started to feel really disposable, as though you could hop from one to the next” for better wages.

During the pandemic, restaurant workers have been demanding better pay and working conditions, “justifiably so,” Cohen said. Some workers quit the industry, causing restaurants to slash hours, limit services, or even close for good.

It’s not just restaurants that have been hit by what’s billed as “The Great Resignation.” Businesses ranging from ride-hailing apps and small stores to hotels and delivery services have been struggling to find new workers or retain existing staff, saying they don’t need to take low-paying jobs in such a competitive labor market.

Cohen said Dirt Candy, which now has around 25 staff, provides employees with paid time off and health insurance. She said that in other industries, these provisions were “just standard, but in a restaurant, somehow it became sort of the norm not to treat our employees like professionals.”

The restaurant also has a no-tipping policy, which has been in place since 2015.

“We don’t have to trick you into paying a 20% ‘tip’ at the end of your meal to cover our labor costs,” Dirt Candy says on its website.

Cohen said some staff had left Dirt Candy during the pandemic to move to a new town or different industry, but that she’d been able to find replacements easily.

“We have not had a single problem with finding staff,” she said.

Cohen said that the wage hikes meant she had to raise prices by around 30%.

She streamlined the restaurant’s menu, too. Previously, it offered tasting menus of five and ten courses, but now it just offers one five-course menu, which she said slashed the restaurant’s food costs and meant she could afford to pay staff more.

“We put the focus on staff comes first and everything comes second,” Cohen said. “I can’t succeed without a staff.”

Other restaurants have voiced concerns that price hikes could lead to fewer visitors, but Cohen said her menu changes hadn’t deterred diners. She said that the restaurant, which seats 44, was serving between 85 and 90 diners on an average night, which was roughly the same as pre-pandemic.

“I think for a pandemic, we’re doing just fine,” she said.

Do you own or manage a restaurant that’s struggling to find staff? Or are you a hospitality worker who quit your job – or the industry – over pay, benefits, or working conditions? Contact this reporter at gdean@insider.com.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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A farm in Massachusetts said it spent $500 advertising on Indeed for a job running its short-staffed produce stand – and got zero applicants

A man walks by a "Now Hiring" sign outside a store on August 16, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
Workers say they’re quitting their jobs in search of better pay, benefits, and working conditions.

The owner of a farm in Massachusetts said that he spent $500 advertising for a job vacancy on Indeed – but nobody applied.

The advert, which was seeking staff to work at an outdoor stand selling the farm’s produce and flowers from local florists, “didn’t yield anybody,” Hugh Manheim, owner of Manheim Farm in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, told The Daily Hampshire Gazette.

After being unable to find workers, Manheim temporarily closed the stand.

“We couldn’t find any people to work there,” he told The Gazette. “We’re still looking.” He did not say how much the job would pay.

Businesses ranging from ride-hailing apps and restaurants to hotels and delivery services are struggling to find workers.

Many say that their efforts to hire new workers are falling flat. The owner of a discount store in Maine said that he had a “help wanted” sign in the window but only received five applications in six months, while the owner of a taco restaurant in Texas said that most people who applied for jobs didn’t show up to their interviews.

Businesses have been cutting their hours, raising prices, and changing operations because they can’t get enough workers. In the case of the Taco restaurant, it even closed for good. Some businesses have said that people don’t want to work anymore, in some cases blaming it on unemployment benefits. But workers say they’re quitting their jobs in search of better pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Manheim opened his farm produce stand in May. He told The Gazette that his children had been working there but left because they had other jobs. He said his children brought in their friends as replacements, but that they’d all returned to college.

Manheim said that he enjoyed working at the stand, but that he had to be on the farm itself most of the day.

“I can only be in so many places at one time,” he told The Gazette.

Massachusetts has an unemployment rate of 5.0%, per preliminary August data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is almost double its pre-pandemic unemployment rate, but is well below the 16.4% it reached in April 2020, after companies laid staff off at the start of the pandemic.

The state’s labor force participation rate – the number of people employed or actively seeking employment as a percentage of its total working-age population – is 65.7%, per BLS’ preliminary August data. This is significantly higher than the US average of 61.7%.

Do you own or manage a business that’s struggling to find staff? Or are you a worker who quit your job – or the industry – over pay, benefits, or working conditions? Contact this reporter at gdean@insider.com.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Vermont are the states struggling hardest to fill jobs in the US labor shortage, new research suggests

Now hiring sign
Businesses across industries are struggling to find workers.

  • Nebraska and New Hampshire have the most job openings per unemployed person, per CareerCloud research.
  • The data suggests businesses there are competing hardest for potential workers in the labor shortage.
  • Workers have been quitting their jobs in search of better pay, benefits, and working conditions.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Vermont are among the US states hit hardest by the labor shortage, a report by careers site CareerCloud has suggested.

Nebraska had the most job openings per unemployed person at 1.8, per the research, which analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the job boards Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and CareerBuilder. This suggests that businesses there are competing hardest for a potential pool of applicants.

CareerCloud’s report ranked New Hampshire second on the measure, with 1.6 job listings per unemployed person, and Vermont third, with 1.59.

Hawaii, on the other hand, had just 0.41 job listings per unemployed person, the lowest number in CareerCloud’s ranking. This suggests businesses there have more potential applicants per job than anywhere else in the US.

Some businesses have said that people don’t want to work anymore, in some cases blaming it on unemployment benefits. But workers say they’re quitting their jobs in search of better pay, benefits, and working conditions.

As a result, businesses have been forced to assess the way they treat their staff to both recruit new workers and stop current ones from quitting. Some have been raising salaries and improving their education and healthcare provisions. Others are hoping that one-off perks, such as sign-on and retention bonuses and free iPhones, will be enough to lure in workers.

The District of Columbia (DC) had an even higher ratio of job openings per unemployed person than Nebraska, at 2.37, per the research.

Part of the reason why DC has such a high rate of vacancies could be because jobs are often filled by workers who live outside the area and commute in. The area has a total labor force of 408,800 people, of which 382,100 are employed – but 749,700 people are on payroll there, per BLS data.

DC has an unemployment rate of 6.5%, preliminary August data from the BLS showed. Its unemployment rate soared from 5.2% in March 2020 to 11.1% in April 2020, after the pandemic hit, and has been steadily declining since, per BLS data.

Businesses ranging from ride-hailing apps and restaurants to hotels and delivery services are struggling to find workers.

Schools are struggling to find enough teachers and bus drivers, too. Businesses across the US have been cutting their hours, raising prices, and, in some cases, closing for good because they can’t get enough workers.

Here’s how many job listings there are per unemployed person, according to CareerCloud’s report

  1. District of Columbia 2.37
  2. Nebraska 1.80
  3. New Hampshire 1.60
  4. Vermont 1.59
  5. Utah 1.45
  6. South Dakota 1.44
  7. Idaho 1.29
  8. Montana 1.21
  9. North Dakota 1.20
  10. Georgia 1.12
  11. Alabama 1.10
  12. Oklahoma 1.08
  13. Virginia 1.04
  14. Wisconsin 1.04
  15. Kansas 1.03
  16. Indiana 1.02
  17. Minnesota 1.01
  18. Iowa 0.99
  19. Kentucky 0.99
  20. Massachusetts 0.98
  21. North Carolina 0.97
  22. Missouri 0.96
  23. South Carolina 0.93
  24. Maine 0.91
  25. Tennessee 0.89
  26. Arkansas 0.86
  27. West Virginia 0.84
  28. Michigan 0.81
  29. Oregon 0.80
  30. Wyoming 0.78
  31. Ohio 0.77
  32. Washington 0.75
  33. Delaware 0.74
  34. Maryland 0.73
  35. Florida 0.70
  36. Alaska 0.68
  37. Rhode Island 0.68
  38. Pennsylvania 0.67
  39. Colorado 0.64
  40. Texas 0.61
  41. Mississippi 0.60
  42. Illinois 0.59
  43. New Jersey 0.59
  44. Arizona 0.56
  45. New Mexico 0.53
  46. Louisiana 0.52
  47. Connecticut 0.51
  48. Nevada 0.50
  49. California 0.45
  50. New York 0.45
  51. Hawaii 0.41

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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A Florida BBQ restaurant shut down after being left with just 4 employees. ‘No one wants to work,’ its owner said.

Server Kelly Park takes food orders. At the Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery on Penn Ave in Wyomissing PA on February 26, 2021
Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que shut its Winter Park location earlier in September.

A BBQ restaurant in Winter Park, Florida, shut down after its workforce dwindled to just four employees, its owner said.

Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que, which lists three other Orlando-area restaurants on its website, shut its Winter Park location earlier in September, according to a Facebook post.

“Business has been off considerably, but the hardest part being the inability to find staff to hire,” Boo McKinnon, the restaurant’s owner, wrote in the post.

“We closed our Winter Park store with a whopping four employees,” McKinnon said in the Facebook post. McKinnon did not say how many people she previously employed in her restaurant.

“Despite paying more than any restaurant I am aware of, no one wants to work,” McKinnon said in the post, without saying how much she paid staff.

In July, Insider’s Ben Gilbert reported that the phrase “nobody wants to work anymore” had become a scapegoat for every problem plaguing the American labor market.

When contacted by Insider, McKinnon wouldn’t say exactly how much staff were paid, but said hourly employers were paid “in double digits.” Winter Park managers were paid at the level of “high end” restaurants or better, she said.

“We had a great 35 year run in Winter Park and are grateful for every one of those years. The labor shortage is very real. And it is brutal,” she told Insider, adding that other local restaurants had also cut their hours.

McKinnon said in the Facebook post the restaurant had previously slashed its opening hours to three full days and two half days per week. “It wasn’t by design, it was simply due to the fact we have no staff and can’t find any,” she said.

Bubbalou’s said that it would transfer its remaining Winter Park employees to its restaurant in Apopka.

McKinnon appeared to partly blame the government’s enhanced unemployment benefits for the restaurant’s lack of workers.

“Damn you pandemic and the political machine for making [it] more appealing to not work than to be an active part of the workforce in our country,” McKinnon wrote. “It’s pathetic. And it has disastrous results.”

Florida stopped paying the benefits, including a $300 weekly payment, in late June. Mark Wilson, CEO of Florida’s Chamber of Commerce, said that the decision would “help fill thousands of these vacancies and aid in ending the worker shortage throughout the state.”

Companies in Florida, and other states that cut benefits early, have said that they’re still struggling to find staff months later.

Workers say that it’s low pay, bad benefits, and a lack of flexible hours that are making them quit their jobs in droves.

The restaurant industry has been especially hard hit.

The number of people working in restaurants, cafes, and bars across the US fell in August for the first time since April 2020, according to preliminary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the largest drop in employment across all nonfarm industries, including retail, healthcare, and manufacturing.

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