Who are today’s hourly workers and what do they want?

Nearly 60 percent of today’s workers are now paid hourly. They’re the backbone of the U.S. economy and your business. That’s why Snagajob teamed up with LinkedIn to analyze more than 120 million applications from more than 20 million hourly workers, as well as millions of hourly worker profiles on LinkedIn, to help you better understand your workforce and how to attract, hire and retain the best employees.

Hourly workers tend to be young

Our research found that a full 71 percent of hourly workers are under 30 years old. This may seem like a lot, but it makes complete sense when you think about the most common reasons people choose hourly work – such as helping pay for school or to jump-start their careers.

So, what does this mean for you? Think about what’s important to the younger generation of workers:


On your careers page, share your mission, your core values and your company vision. What is the bigger purpose behind your business? What brings your team to work every day? 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.


In your job descriptions, go beyond the requirements for the job. 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. Millennials understand the value of time better than anyone. Make sure you clearly demonstrate how they’ll grow from working at your 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.


Not every hourly employer can offer flexibility of hours/days worked, but if you can, work it in your favor. Gen Y workers are constantly juggling commitments and that makes managing inflexible working hours exceedingly difficult. Even if you can’t offer the flexibility they desire, give them the opportunity to tell you the hours/days they’re willing and able to work during your online job application process.


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

That’s why applying to your jobs has to be fast and efficient. 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 percent of hourly workers) will drop off, and that’s a massive lost opportunity.

Hourly workers are more inclined to pursue higher education than you might have realized

While younger workers naturally have less education than older hourly workers, when we took a look at those ages 30 or older, we found that 45 percent have some post-secondary education. And 15 percent of them have a Bachelor’s degree or more.

That’s important to remember when you’re thinking about the jobs you’re trying to fill. If you’re looking for more advanced skillsets, be sure to call that out in your job description, so those who are well-qualified understand that there are higher-level or specialized positions available in your organization. Just as hourly employers may assume that most job seekers are entry level, these highly-educated job seekers may avoid your jobs for the same reason.

Hourly workers take jobs with more common job titles

After analyzing millions of LinkedIn members’ who work in hourly jobs, we were able to find the most common job titles that hourly workers hold in the retail and restaurant industries.

Cashier is the most popular job title in both the restaurant and retail industries, and Team Member appears in both lists. As to be expected, retail has more sales-related roles while restaurants have more food-related roles. In both cases it’s clear that interpersonal skills are a critical factor in finding hourly jobs as many of the roles are customer-facing or managerial.

The key takeaway for job posters is that the majority of hourly workers in these fields likely have this title because it’s what they searched for when they were applying for the role. While “Sandwich Artist” or “Coffee Ninja” may sound more enticing, “Line Cook” is more widely searched, giving you many more eyes on your job post. You can use the job description to give the posting more flair and delve into what the role entails.

Want to learn more about what your hourly workers really want out of a job? Join us on Tues., Feb. 28 at 12pm ET/9am PT for our next webinar, “Your Ultimate Hourly Insights Guide.” Our partners from LinkedIn and Dr Pepper Snapple will walk you through ways to improve the candidate experience, increase employee engagement and reduce turnover. Even if you can’t make it, you can sign up here to receive a free copy of the recording/slides.

Coming Up Next

We’re excited to empower hourly employers with more in-depth insights. Next up, we’ll reveal the key factors that hourly workers consider most when applying for jobs. With this information, you should be better equipped to attract applicants and avoid drop-off.


Methodology: We analyzed Snagajob’s job application activity to its top 142 employers over the past three years. This was comprised of 120 million+ applications by 20 million+ hourly workers. For age and education, we analyzed the total Snagajob database. (Note: education results exclude the 2% of applicants with unknown education.) We then examined the millions of LinkedIn profiles with common hourly job titles to learn more about hourly workers.

The results represent the world seen through the lens of Snagajob and LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how LinkedIn members choose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis.