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Let’s talk wages in New Jersey


What is the minimum wage in New Jersey?

The minimum wage in New Jersey is $14.13 per hour for most employees, effective January 1, 2023. This is the result of a law signed by Governor Phil Murphy in February 2019 that gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 for most employees.

There are a few exemptions to the minimum wage in New Jersey. Tipped workers are paid a lower minimum wage of $5.26 per hour, but they must also receive tips that bring their hourly earnings up to the minimum wage. Employees under the age of 18 are also paid a lower minimum wage of $12.93 per hour, but only if they are working in their first 90 days of employment.

The New Jersey minimum wage is an important issue for many people across the state. It is a matter of fairness, economic security, and quality of life. The debate over the minimum wage is likely to continue in New Jersey.

Here are some additional facts about the minimum wage in New Jersey:

  • The minimum wage was first established in New Jersey in 1968.
  • The minimum wage has been increased 22 times since it was first established.
  • The minimum wage is indexed to inflation, so it automatically increases each year with the cost of living.

What is the average wage in New Jersey?

The average wage in New Jersey is $24.77 per hour, as of May 2023. This is around $51,521 a year with most entry level positions starting at $34,000 and the high-earners making $116,000.

Wages aren’t everything!

While pay is one of the main factors that hourly employees consider when choosing to join (or stay at) a company, it’s not the end all be all. Research shows that advancement opportunities, supportive management, and schedule flexibility are all incredibly important as well.

Want to learn more about this trend? We dive deep into the data behind which perks and benefits matter most to hourly workers. Check out our full conversation with expert Sara Wasserteil of Cara Collective.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between gross wages and net wages?

It's important to remember that the Hourly Wage Index data above reflects gross wages, or the amount of money an employee earns before accounting for payroll deductions like taxes, benefits, or wage garnishments. Due to variability in tax rates across locations, slightly lower gross wages in a certain location might result in higher take home pay, or vice versa.

What is a good hourly wage?

This question is a difficult one to answer, as a "good hourly wage" is highly subjective according to experience, work responsibilities, cost of living, and other factors. We recommend using Hourly Wage Index data as a starting point. Once you have established a baseline for certain positions, do further research into similar businesses in your area.

Lastly, consider surveying your employees. They're the best resource to help you know what is a good hourly wage, what competitive pay looks like in your location, and how competitive wages change in your industry over time.

Offering competitive pay is one of my top priorities—what other resources do you have that might help?

We know that getting applicants to pay attention to your business can be extremely challenging, and that offering competitive pay is a huge part of that. Wages aren’t everything, however! Applicant experience is another important factor that can help set you apart from your competition. A few examples include:

  • Short, easy to understand job descriptions
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Quick communication
  • Streamlined interview stages

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A Workstream hiring specialist can help you identify high impact ways to improve your applicant experience, and even help you determine what is a good hourly wage for your location and business.

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