Staffing hourly jobs has never been easy. In the past couple of years, though, the task has bordered on impossible. Now with much of the pandemic fear and disruption in our rearview mirrors, where does that leave the state of staffing hourly jobs in areas like administration, call centers, sales, tech, and manufacturing? Let’s take a look.
What Hourly Workers Want
Workforce management solution Quinyx recently revealed its 2022 State of the Deskless Workforce, which focused on the needs and opinions of hourly frontline workers. Its biggest conclusion: Hourly workers are still in the driver’s seat as the labor shortage wears on.
“It’s up to employers to meet the needs of a workforce that has long since been ignored, overworked, and from our survey, has expressed is uneager to return to work,” the study authors write. More than half of the hourly workers surveyed considered quitting their job in the past year, and about 74% believe they could easily find another job based on their skillsets.
And it’s not just money driving them away. Nearly 60% feel that stressful working conditions are causing frontline worker shortages. Many cite scheduling challenges caused by inflexibility, understaffing, and difficulty swapping shifts due to lack of technology as their top stressor.
The other factor causing a rift in staffing hourly jobs is the lack of a rewarding and engaging workplace. Working an hourly job doesn’t usually equate to a “climb the ladder” type of job, but the study found that the inability to move forward in their career was a major reason 23% of frontline workers considered quitting. About 65% were not provided any additional training or educational resources and 68% didn’t receive set goals or steps to earn a promotion.
While competitive compensation is imperative, both of these factors—scheduling challenges and career progression—were equally important. A separate study by Instawork and Logistics Management found that few employers are taking the hint: less than 50% of surveyed companies are investing in flexible scheduling and career development, despite those being top requests from workers.
Fewer Workers Are Fueling the Fire
If it feels that there are fewer people in the workforce than there were pre-pandemic, that’s because there are. It’s a factor that doesn’t help when it comes to staffing hourly jobs.
“Companies of every size and industry and across every state are facing unprecedented challenges trying to find enough workers to fill open jobs,” says Stephanie Ferguson, Senior Manager of Employment Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We have 11.3 million job openings in the U.S. and six million unemployed workers.”
The most dramatic drop in numbers is among women. There are an estimated 1 million fewer women in the labor force compared to February 2020. Mothers are reporting an inability to return to the workforce because they’re unable to find childcare solutions that meet their needs (58%), they have health and safety concerns (48%), or they simply can’t afford childcare any longer (26%). Women, in general, left the workforce because their jobs lacked flexibility (45%).
Teens are filling as many hourly wage jobs as they can. After more than a decade of fewer and fewer teens in the job market, a university study predicted 33% of teens (ages 16 to 19) would be employed this summer, which is the highest such rate since 2007. Teen seasonal employees, however, won’t shore up an unstable hourly workforce in the long run.
Actionable Steps for Staffing Hourly Jobs
Compensative, flexibility, and career development. Those three pillars can get you far when it comes to staffing hourly jobs. Of course, it sounds simpler than it is. Your strategy revolves around dozens of factors including your industry, location, and skills needed.
To ramp up, consider taking a page from the light manufacturing handbook by incorporating contingency or temp-to-hire workers. A recent industrial staffing report showed that temporary help accounted for 8% more of the workforce than it did pre-pandemic. Contingency staffing is a tried-and-true strategy for manufacturers during periods of brisk hiring.
“Temporary staffing is a great tool during times of change,” says Stephanie Grubbs, Regional Managing Director of The HT Group General Staffing Division. “Your staffing partner can offer training and benefits, which can help you utilize your resources better while helping those who may have left the workforce re-enter it confidently. It can help bridge the gap when it comes to staffing hourly jobs while the staffing shortage rages on.” Feel free to contact us to help you plot your way forward.