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Survey: Hourly employees are eyeing new jobs; scheduling flexibility a top factor

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Only about half of hourly employees surveyed by Legion agreed that their employer cares about creating a good work experience for them and their coworkers.

Hiring and retention is remaining a challenge for employees, with half of hourly employees stating they are “very likely” to leave their jobs within the next year.

That’s according to Legion Technologies’ latest annual State of the Hourly Workforce report, which surveyed 1,569 hourly workers and 557 managers in North America. The report found that not only are employees overall expecting to find new jobs soon, between the ages of 18 and 24, the number jumps to 76% who said they plan to depart in the next 12 months. Older hourly workers (age 35-44, 56%, 45-54, 44%, and 55-64, 34%) are more likely to stick with their current position.

Only about half of hourly employees surveyed agreed that their employer cares about creating a good work experience for them and their coworkers, and 41% of employees reported that their companies “have not done anything to make my workplace better” in the past 12 months.

When asked to select the top three factors they value the most about their current role, most hourly workers said “I like the people I work with” (69%), followed by “I enjoy the work I do” (60%) and “I have a flexible schedule” (52%). When which top three incentives (other than the pay rate) are most likely to persuade them to leave and take a new job, several of the top choices increased from 2023 to 2024, including “ability to easily give schedule input” (45% from 39%) and “greater transparency into shift assignments and hours given” (35% from 32%).

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Given their dissatisfaction with their current jobs, many employees say that unionization is appealing. Legion found while fewer than 10% of hourly workers stated that there was a unionization or labor organization effort at their employer in the past year, over a quarter of employees (27%) wish there had been. Among the 10% who experienced a labor movement in their workplace, the following factors inspired it: low wages (68%), poor employee benefits (56%), poor work-life balance (51%), lack of schedule flexibility (46%), social and/or political issues (41%), and compliance and safety violations (31%).

Legion also found that managers of hourly employees are not maximizing their time as well as they could be with the help of technology. Fewer than half (47%) of managers feel they have enough time to focus on the parts of their job that they enjoy. A combined 38% of managers are still using manual, paper-based processes (13%) or simple software such as Excel or Google Docs (25%) to create schedules for their hourly employees, and 42% use scheduling software that enables the writing of schedules.

The study found fewer than 20% of managers use a program that automatically generates schedules. Nearly six-in-10 (57%) managers are spending at least three hours per week on scheduling and prefer more automation, and only 30% of hourly employees reported their organizations have “improved schedules to better match my availability and preferences.” Only 29% said their companies have “improved schedule flexibility.”

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