What Exactly Do Hourly-Based Workers Want?

Choose your own explanation. Overly generous unemployment benefits. A childcare crisis. People are lazy. People are afraid of COVID. People are fed up with what they perceive to be “dead-end” jobs. People are readjusting their priorities. All of the above. 

What Exactly Do Hourly-Based Workers Want? 

More than ever, businesses are experiencing difficulty in retaining and attracting hourly-based workers. According to the Federal Reserve, blue collar employment has declined 17% compared to a 4% decrease in white collar work since the pandemic began. There are several factors that contribute to this issue such as COVID-19 fears and mandates, an abundance of unemployment insurance, the lack of motivation for people to seek employment and people rethinking their career paths. 

In order to attract job seekers, companies are drastically increasing their wages as well as providing monetary incentives. McDonald’s, Walmart, Costco, and Target have increased their wages up to $15 per hour. Amazon is offering job seekers a $1,000 sign bonus when onboarding new hourly-based workers. Companies are not the only ones experiencing difficulty in increasing their workforce but States such as Chicago have increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour in an attempt to motivate people to work. 

Increasing wages and offering monetary bonuses may serve as a short-term fix in attracting job seekers and incentivizing hourly-based workers. However, what exactly do hourly-based workers want? What are viable ways to stand out amongst other competitors seeking to increase their hourly-based workforce? 

Predictable and Flexible Schedules

59% of hourly workers state that they would quit their job because of scheduling issues. Hourly-based workers want to be able to make plans out of work and anticipate time off. Predictable and flexible work schedules allow workers to make time for themselves and enjoy life beyond the workplace. Especially coming out of the pandemic, workers have reflected on their life priorities and career where 80% desire a better work-life balance. Providing predictability and flexibility with scheduling increases the worker’s devotion for their job and company. This is evident in a survey conducted by Voice of the Blue-Collar Worker where hourly workers who stuck with a job for 5 years or more cited their loyalty was because “I liked my work schedule”. 

Paid Time Off and Leave

73% of hourly workers would trade an increase of $1/hr. for an extra 5 days’ time off. As mentioned earlier, hourly-based workers desire a work-life balance. Having to balance household responsibilities, a second job, academics, or having an illness could cause anxiety with worrying about fulfilling their finances. Paid time off and leave allows workers to have more independence and control over their schedule. In addition, this allows workers to set a day to relax from their busy work schedules; which in turn increases worker productivity and employee satisfaction. 

Early Access to Pay

More than 125 million U.S. adults live paycheck-to-paycheck. Of which, 70% of workers state that they’re in financial stress while more than 50% state that it’s affecting their work. Early access to pay allows workers to pay for any necessary purchases as well as avoid pricey payday lenders, late charges and bank overdraft fees. Employee benefits such as Earned Wage access allows employees to receive their wages well-in advance prior to the scheduled payday.Particularly in hiring, providing early access to pay as an employee benefit makes unfilled positions more enticing for job seekers. According to PwC, 72% of millennials and 71% of Gen Xers are more likely to be attracted to a company that “cares about their financial well-being”. 

Career Advancement 

Hourly-based workers seek progression with their position and desire long-term advancement of where it could lead them to. Providing career advancement allows workers to be more engaged with their jobs and committed to the company. A study on employee engagement found that companies in the U.S. lose between $450-$550 billion each year due to disengaged workers. A clear career pathway not only motivates workers but allows businesses to attract more candidates, increase employee retention, reduce hiring costs and increase profitability. According to a study, companies with a highly engaged workforce have a 17% higher productivity in comparison to companies with a disengaged workforce as well as have 21% higher profitability. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

According to a survey conducted by GlassDoor, 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities, and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity. DEI in the workplace means that the company provides fair treatment to their employees regardless of their age, race, background, gender, culture and religion. Hourly-based workers want to feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in the workplace where they are valued for who they are. Incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace provides the notion that the company respects each worker and their needs. 

Companies that instill diversity, equity and inclusion as the forefront of their workforce makes open positions and companies more attractive in the eyes of the job seeker. According to a survey by GlassDoor, 76% of job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

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