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Work-Life Balance is Critical to Retaining Hourly Workers


Today’s labor market is creating significant recruiting and retention challenges for employers, especially when it comes to hourly workers.

According to the United States Department of Labor, hourly workers make up around 60% of the U.S. workforce, which is close to 82 million individuals.

And while hourly and salaried employees share similarities on why they choose an employer and what keeps them from leaving, there are differences between these two types of workers that are important for employers to understand.

new survey from Shiftboard and Lux Insights shows how hourly workers feel about job satisfaction, what matters most to them when it comes to a job, and more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the data.


The survey was taken by 2,150 American adults, of which 40% said they were paid hourly.

First, the report showed some differences that exist between hourly and salaried employees around the “meaning of work.”

When it comes to believing that their on-the-job decisions have a major impact on the organization, 82% of hourly employees agreed – compared to 74% of non-hourly workers.

Here are some other results that show more differences between hourly and non-hourly workers:

  • Believe making a significant contribution is important for job satisfaction – 87% hourly; 75% non-hourly
  • Believe having career growth opportunities is important for job satisfaction – 89% hourly; 75% non-hourly
  • Believe it’s important to receive joy from work – 82% hourly; 75% non-hourly
  • Believe feeling challenged at work is important for job satisfaction – 87% hourly; 74% non-hourly


Next, the survey explored the job factors that are most likely to result in hourly workers having positive views of their role and employer. The results show one factor in particular is extremely important:

  • Work-life balance – 77%
  • Being paid well – 66%
  • Good working relationship with boss – 64%
  • Working in a convenient location – 62%
  • Enjoying the tasks or activities done at work – 58%

Clearly, work-life balance was well ahead of the others as the top factor for job satisfaction for hourly workers. Meanwhile, 68% of other respondents indicated work-life balance as their number one factor, which shows just how important it us to hourly workers – especially when trying to retain and/or recruit them.

Another interesting result is that 89% of hourly workers said they would work longer days if it meant having more off days.

Also, 49% said they would take a reasonable pay cut if it meant having more control over their schedule, and 56% said they would take a pay cut for better health benefits.


The last part of the survey details strategies employers can take to be in a better position to retain their hourly workers.

The first recommendation is to have a better, more strategic approach to scheduling. Take a look at how scheduling impacts workers today:

  • Work schedule impacts overall job satisfaction – 85% of workers
  • Work schedule impacts if they would seek other employment – 80%
  • Work schedule impacts relationships with other employees – 74%
  • Work schedule impacts relationship with their boss – 73%

Second, employers need to give employees more control over their own schedules. 87% of workers said having control of their schedule was extremely important, while 55% said they would be somewhat likely to leave their job if they lacked control over their schedule.

Third, leaders should empower employees to fit their schedules to their lives. When looking at how hourly workers view schedule control, you can see why it is important for employers:

  • Want to select their own shifts – 89%
  • Highly value ability to trade shifts once assigned – 83%
  • Would leave job if shift hours were during a challenging time – 62%
  • Would leave job if unable to trade shifts – 58%
  • Likely to leave job if unable to influence their schedule – 52%

Fourth, employers have to provide transparency around their scheduling process. This is critical because 87% of hourly workers said scheduling transparency is important to them. And 58% said they would leave their job if they thought the scheduling process was unfair.


Whether it’s hourly employees or salaried workers, employers face numerous challenges and struggles with retaining top talent today.

In order to do so, many are exploring new strategies in order to keep current employees happy, engaged, and compensated. Improving benefitsfocusing on the employee experience, and enhancing the company culture can all positively impact retention processes!

How can outsourcing help small and medium-sized businesses overcome 10 common HR symptoms? Our eBook explains these HR challenges, and how partnering with a PEO can help overcome them!

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