Seasonal Workers More Concerned About Flexible Hours Than Pay Rates

The official start of the holiday shopping season is almost here, which means many retailers will be searching for seasonal workers to help with the holiday rush. Recruiting temporary workers may be harder than in years past, due to an incredibly low unemployment rate in the US. With a diminished pool of candidates, human resources teams will need strong incentives to attract the best workers. Offering competitive wages has always been a great way to attract candidates, but modern workers may want something more. A recent survey of seasonal job seekers found they prioritized flexibility over higher wages. 

This stunning statistic comes from a survey of more than 800 adult workers in the US. The survey was performed by Touluna, a consumer insight group, at the behest of Bluecrew, the makers of an “on-demand staffing technology platform exclusively for flexible W-2 work”. The survey results showed changing trends in the way people approach opportunities for seasonal work. 

The survey results were used to create the Bluecrew 2019 Holiday Hiring Report. This research document revealed that “job seekers looking for holiday hourly jobs would prefer to have flexible schedules and as many hours as possible over the highest pay rate.” While it may seem counter-intuitive to take a job at a lower hourly rate, if the worker can get more hours, it will more than cover for the difference in wages. Similarly, a high-paying job that doesn’t give the worker enough hours or a flexible schedule is hurting the worker’s overall earning potential during the holidays.

“As the competition for quality workers continues to increase, employers that want to attract the best and brightest need to understand how the employment landscape is changing and what workers are really looking for,” said Adam Roston, Bluecrew CEO, in a press statement. “The Bluecrew 2019 Holiday Hiring Report reveals that above all else, holiday workers want the flexibility to work when they want and as much as they can.”

The research team pointed out several key findings from the report that show how the preferences of job seekers have changed. One of the biggest changes involves a greater desire for work flexibility. According to the survey respondents, a flexible schedule and the ability to work more hours were more important than getting the highest pay rate when looking for a holiday job.

Making schedules more flexible fits into another trend that was seen in the survey results. Many of the applicants that recruiters will see are people who already have jobs, and thus, a need for a flexible schedule. The majority of the respondents (55 percent) said they planned to work two or more jobs during the holiday season. In comparison, 40 percent of the survey respondents said they planned to only work one job as their only source of income.

The Bluecrew survey suggests that low the unemployement rate won’t curtail seasonal hiring. More than a third (38 percent) of everyone surveyed said they were looking for a seasonal or holiday job. That figure shoots up to 66 percent when you just look at adults 18 to 34-year-olds who plan on finding extra work over the holidays. 

The report provides some insight into what workers want from seasonal work. Getting enough hours is essential for attracting workers. The majority (55 percent) of respondents said they would like to work 26 hours or more per week. However, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said they expect to be given 25 hours or less per week by their employers. This disconnect between the number of hours people want to work and the hours they are given creates an opportunity for recruiters to lure workers who want to work more. As for pay, nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents expect their hourly rate to be $13.26 or higher which is nearly double the federal minimum wage.

The Bluecrew report has a lot of information that can help business owners and recruiters attract the best talent for the holiday season. Here’s a link to the visual guide to the report from the Bluecrew

For more information that can help HR teams understand job seekers, read this article on why two out of five Generation Z workers regret accepting a job offer

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