Hourly Workers Feeling Disenfranchised, New Study Finds

During the holidays in particular, companies like pitching stories to journalists boasting about their hiring efforts as a reflection of booming commerce. UPS is notorious, at times suggesting they hire enough part-time workers during the holidays to fill an NFL stadium, and the U.S. retail sector has said they will hire nearly 800,000 hourly workers for the 2016 holiday season.

But what do we know about these hourly workers? Does anyone really care? It would seem they represent a meaningful chunk of the American workforce as reportedly hourly workers comprising more than 60 percent of the U.S. workforce. And apparently -- they feel like second class citizens, according to a new study.

Edison Research and Red E App just released a rare, in-depth look at hourly workers: Profile of the Hourly Worker, the first independent, quantitative survey of American hourly workers at a time when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 3.3 million more Americans are being paid hourly in 2014 compared to 2011.

The study found a significant percentage of hourly workers in the U.S. feel disenfranchised by their employers and disconnected without access to company email or online tools afforded to full-time salaried employees.

"More people are equipped with digital devices than ever before, but companies are not embracing hourly workers and providing them with modern methods of communications and engagement," said Jonathan Erwin, CEO of Red e App, citing research showing 84 percent of hourly workers own a smartphone; 69 percent own a tablet. "And the research demonstrates the resulting loss manifests itself in morale, productivity and profitability."

Edison conducted 1,099 online interviews of hourly workers in the U.S. were between August 14-19, 2015. The resulting data was weighted by gender and race to match U.S. Census hourly worker demographics, then weighted by education to match U.S. Census data on full-time and part-time workers.

The research, which can be downloaded for free here, includes a full demographic profile of the U.S. hourly worker, overall and by industry; a dissection of how the hourly worker uses technology, an in-depth look at how companies communicate with hourly workers, a look at the hourly worker's job satisfaction, engagement level and employer loyalty, a survey of the hourly worker's confidence in his/her employer, and an assessment of the average boss from the hourly worker's perspective among other insights.

"This study provided the opportunity to discover previously unknown facts and new insights about the hourly worker that paint a rich and complex portrait of this important part of our economy," said Tom Webster, Vice-President for Strategy at Edison Research. "This report reveals some of the keys to a loyal and engaged hourly workforce."