What Incentives Are Employers Using To Entice Hourly Workers? We Have the Scoop.

Join us January 11th, 2022 to review these findings and more on a webinar with Hourly by AMS – How Talent Acquisition Leaders are Navigating High Volume Hiring Challenges and Change – register today!

The U.S. labor market feels an awful lot like a ghost town or a battlefield these days, depending on your perspective.

If you’re looking to hire hourly workers (who seem to be scarcer than ever), the market feels like a once thriving but now largely deserted community. If you’re looking at the tactics your competitors are using to win those scarce workers away from you, the market feels more like a ruthless battlefield.

Either way you look at it, that’s one tough labor market out there. And the competition for hourly workers is perhaps the toughest segment of all, judging by the lengths some companies are going to in order to win new talent.

CVS, for example, made headlines by announcing a hike in its minimum wage to $15 an hour by this coming July. It’s hardly the only employer to do so. It joins Bank of America, McDonald’s, Target, Chipotle, Walmart, Best Buy, and Costco (among others), all of whom have pledged to raise their minimum wage to better compete for hourly workers in an increasingly tight labor market.

Of course, not every company can afford to raise wages, and money is far from the only incentive employers are using to win hourly talent. In fact, new data from a survey of recruiters shows that medical benefits and flexible work schedules are close behind wages in terms of popular incentives.

Recruiters List Their Top Hourly Incentives

Talent Board and Hourly by AMS recently conducted a global survey of recruiters and TA professionals, and one of the questions we asked was which incentives their organizations have used to attract hourly job candidates. Here are their responses in descending order:

  1. Highly competitive wages – 54%
  2. Medical benefits – 49%
  3. Flexible work schedules – 48%
  4. Bonuses or other monetary incentives – 45%
  5. Job security – 36%
  6. Strong safety protocols – 36%
  7. Fringe benefits/perks (childcare, tuition reimbursement, etc.) – 32%
  8. Professional development – 30%
  9. None – 5%
  10. Other – 2%

The top three responses—wages, medical benefits, and flexible work schedules—are perennial inducements to win hourly talent, but responses number four (bonuses and monetary incentives) and six (strong safety protocols) are relative newcomers to the list and show just how fierce the competition for these individuals has gotten. Rarely have bonuses and monetary incentives been dangled before hourly workers as an incentive to join a company. And strong safety protocols, the newest incentive on this list, are obviously a response to pandemic-related health concerns among workers in industries such as Services, Hospitality, and Health Care.

Looking over the percentages attached to each response, it’s clear that many employers have yet to try these incentives. The top incentive (highly competitive wages) barely cracked the 50% threshold and it was alone in that distinction.

Incentives were just one of the issues our survey explored. We also asked participants questions about how COVID-19 has impacted their recruiting process, how their applicant volume and diversity have shifted over the past year, how long it’s taking them to fill hourly positions compared to pre-COVID days, and more. You can download and read the full survey report here.

With more employees quitting their jobs than ever, job openings continuing to multiply, and the competition for talent getting more heated, using incentives to attract hourly workers is almost sure to become more ubiquitous and employers are going to have to get more creative. Keeping an eye on all of this is going to be fascinating.


Be safe and well.

Kevin W. Grossman, Talent Board President


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