This is why your hourly workers aren’t coming back

Tr4v3tr20/ September 2, 2021/ Travel/ 0 comments

“It’s a nightmare,” says a chief operating officer of a popular sit-down restaurant with a thick menu. Exasperation seeped through our 8 a.m. Zoom call. “I’m dealing with restaurants that I have to close because we don’t have enough staff.”

Many industries are feeling the pain of The Great Resignation, but people working in traditionally deskless jobs (such as food service and gig workers) consistently top the quitting leaderboard. About 750,000 leisure and hospitality workers are dropping out every month, according to this year’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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What gives? When asked this question, most will say they need to be paid more, which makes sense. Rising costs are catastrophic in America today. Workers now need to make $42 an hour in order to spend the recommended quarter of their income on an average one-bedroom apartment (in June 2021, this amount was $1,711). Meanwhile, the average hourly wage for restaurant workers is $11.52.

Raising wages is a critical piece of the puzzle, but beyond that, it comes down to the fact that most businesses can’t afford to go from an hourly wage of $11.52 to $42, so we need to dig deeper to provide value for employees.

It’s clear that businesses with largely hourly workforces do not understand the day-to-day problems their employees face. This gap can be attributed to any number of causes, including the fact that those in charge of choosing benefits are typically salaried, while those who desperately need them are traditionally not. To avoid hemorrhaging staff, businesses need to offer new benefits that meet hourly workers where they are.

After personally connecting with a few workers and employers grappling with the modern work landscape, I noticed a few key themes in what these workers were experiencing.

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