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Companies are Getting Rid of Drug Tests Because They Can’t Find Enough Workers

You’ve probably been noticing a lot more “hiring” and “help wanted” signs going up around town. Despite how fresh grads feel trying to land their first job, we are actually in a labor shortage. That’s right: There are more jobs than there are qualified workers to fill them. To close this gap, companies are changing policies and offers in a variety of ways to attract more workers. One of these is getting rid of mandatory drug testing. This is why.

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Companies Getting Rid of Mandatory Drug Tests

Yes, you heard that right: If you are a recreational marijuana user, your job opportunities just got wider. Companies across America are doing away with mandatory drug tests in order to open up their candidate pool. Their goal is to attract more workers, fill more positions, and also retain more of their current employees. (1)

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“The global talent shortage shows no sign of slowing, with 69 percent of employers reporting difficulty filling roles,” reported the Manpower Group employment and staffing survey. “Overall, the employment outlook is optimistic, particularly for employers that are prepared to adapt to a new world of work and offer incentives to attract and retain the talent they need.”

Their survey results showed that nine percent of more than 45,000 employers worldwide are eliminating job screenings and drug tests. This means that about 4,050 companies from 43 countries are willing to look past moderate recreational drug use in order to fill positions. 

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Read: Another tiny home village is opening to house homeless people in North Hollywood

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Unemployment Rates and A Labor Shortage

You’re likely wondering how there could be a labor shortage when we are just breaking out of a crippling pandemic that increased unemployment rates nearly everywhere. This is just the issue. As the economy rebounds and companies can afford to hire more people again, they are finding that there is a lack of qualified candidates. One of these qualifications is that the candidate is drug-free. With changing views and laws regarding recreational marijuana use in the US and around the world, drug tests are drastically reducing many companies’ potential labor pool.

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Many companies, such as e-commerce giant Amazon, have already announced that they will no longer be testing for marijuana prior to bringing on a new hire. These jobs, of course, are ones not regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This means that if you are looking for a driving position at Amazon or elsewhere, drug tests will likely still be a part of the protocol.

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“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” said Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer Dave Clark. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course.”

This Is A Good Thing For American Job Seekers

Labor scarcity is a good thing for job hunters. This means employers will be trying to make positions more attractive: Better hours, higher wages, more vacation time, and so on. People like to try and blame things like job automation, lack of childcare, or the fact that Americans are no longer willing to work low-paying jobs as a reason for many problems in today’s job market. The reality is, it isn’t a lack of jobs problem, it’s a lack of quality jobs problem. (2)

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This is precisely why a labor shortage benefits workers. Employers now have to try harder to attract workers. This means that they will do what they can afford to do to make a job more appealing, including making it so that you can still enjoy the occasional joint without it costing your employment.

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Positives and Negatives

Yes, there are many businesses that are moving towards automation to fill some jobs. For some, it’s an economic move, but for many, it is simply to fill roles that they can’t find workers for. These are mostly lower-paying customer service jobs that people either don’t want or are prohibited from due to things like failed drug tests.

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“There’s chat-bots that can replace customer service, there’s so many different applications,” said Anne Petrik from executive coaching firm Vistage. (3)

Some worry about automation making low-paid jobs scarcer, which, yes, is true to a certain degree. That being said, companies are now offering more training to “skill up” employees so that they can work the higher-level jobs that automation brings about. Many citizens are also concerned that increased wages will mean increased prices. While that may be so, to a slight degree, the reality is you were already paying for that, just in a different way. Low-wage workers and their families require financial support. Where does this come from? You and your tax dollars, that’s where. When people earn more money, they can put more of that money back into the economy. In the long run, that helps everyone.

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In short, if you’re a fan of recreational marijuana use and are looking for a job, then you might be in luck. Of course, this does not mean that you can now be stoned on the job. You still have to be able to perform your tasks safely and effectively. Naturally, this will not apply to all jobs and all companies. Still, it might help some of you out in your job hunt, even if just a little bit.

Keep Reading: 7 Invisible Tricks Job Interviewers Use to Test You

Sources

  1. Companies are Getting Rid of Drug Tests Because They Can’t Find Enough Workers.Vice. Gavin Butler. September 17, 2021.
  2. Good News: There’s a Labor Shortage.NY Times. September 4, 2021.
  3. How are businesses coping with labor shortages?Market Place. Mitchell Hartman. September 13, 2021.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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