Nonexempt workers form a major driver behind the U.S. labor force — composing of roughly 59% of the workforce — however, many say there are few resources in place to help engage those employees into advancing careers.

The majority of resources go to salaried workers, according to new research from social media giant LinkedIn and Snagajob, an online marketplace for hourly workers. In its research, LinkedIn and Snagajob dive into what hourly workers consider when applying for jobs, and how employers can better attract them.

From the beginning, when publishing job descriptions, employers should go beyond the requirements for the job, advises Snagajob CEO Peter Harrison. “Don’t just tell job seekers what kind of skills you’re looking for; tell them about the skills they’ll learn on the job.”

Bloomberg/file photo

Millennials understand the value of time better than anyone, he says, so employers should make sure they are demonstrating to employees how they’ll grow at the company. “Whether they’re looking to build a career with you or pay for college, a tangible value proposition goes a long way in winning over hourly workers,” Harrison says.

And, when it comes to the onboarding experience, the speed process is one of three key aspects employees say they care about.

For many hourly workers, getting a job quickly is the difference between being able to pay the
bills or not.

When analyzing hiring speed — or the time between job application and first day on the clock —across several industries, on average restaurants hire within 27 days versus 33 days in retail, the study notes.

For some restaurants the average is as low as 15 days, which means a worker’s first day could come two weeks after applying. Retail takes six days longer on average, but certain retailers like sports and furniture stores are more similar to restaurants in terms of speed.

High engagement

Engagement is also another factor hourly employees consider when looking at new employment. The length of time employees stay at a company can indicate how engaged they are at work.

The report analyzed how long employees stay as a surrogate for their engagement level, and discovered that telecommunications, casual dining and grocery employers have the highest levels of hourly worker employee engagement.

“On your careers page, share your mission, your core values and your company vision,” Harrison says. “Millennials want to feel connected to their job and feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. Allow them to see the big picture of what you are working toward collectively that goes beyond the day-to-day tasks of the job.”

Sports retailers, beverages, and fast food employers have the lowest engagement scores. “It’s likely that wage differences have an impact here, but we didn’t consider them in our analysis,” the study authors note.

The more the merrier

The final consideration a majority of hourly workers look for when applying for jobs is application volume.

“While we are starting to see more employers move to mobile-friendly job application, most still use a paper-based or web-based process which can take a lot of time and effort,” according to the study. “We looked at the application volume of hourly workers who were hired versus not hired over a six-month period. We discovered that hired workers applied to twice as many jobs as non-hired workers.”

"Millennials — 90% of them — look for work on their phones, yet only 54% of the job postings out there are mobile-friendly,” Harrison adds. “That doesn’t even mean 54% of applications are made for a small mobile screen — just that they can be accessed. This creates a major pain point.”

That’s why the application process has to be fast and efficient, he advises HR professionals. “Make sure your job application can be filled out quickly and easily on a mobile device. If it’s clunky or loads slowly, a large chunk of your audience (remember, those under age 30 make up 71% of hourly workers) will drop off, and that’s a massive lost opportunity.”

View the full report here.

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