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Announcing the 2023 Voice of the American Workforce findings

Changed by the pandemic and feeling economic pressure, U.S. hourly wage earners are reshaping the workplace – on their own terms.

May 04, 2023

Employbridge 2023 Voice of the American Workforce Survey Finds Workers Want Job Security, Better Pay, More Training, and Flexibility for Gig Work

ATLANTA – May 4, 2023 – Responses from more than 29,000 U.S. hourly wage earners to Employbridge’s 2023 Voice of the American Workforce Survey portray a workforce pinched by economic pressures yet determined to advance and define their roles on their own terms. While better pay has been a consistent desire among workers for more than a decade, this year respondents place higher priority on job security and learning opportunities than in recent years and show substantial interest in joining the gig economy and in supporting app-based work. This year’s findings from the nation’s largest and longest running workforce study, point to what may be a new “social contract” emerging within the workplace – one that assumes more control of how people engage with work and create their own pathways for advancement. The impetus is especially strong among younger workers. Employbridge CEO Billy Milam said, “Major forces of societal change, including the pandemic, inflation, and a generational workforce shift, are transforming the fabric of the workplace. Wage earners are increasingly digitally savvy, eager to gain skills for an automated world, and desirous of schedules that allow them to flex their time to add more work or balance personal demands. Employers, facing an ongoing worker shortage, have a prime opportunity to evolve to thrive in this new paradigm.” Industry sectors surveyed include clerical, hospitality, logistics, manufacturing, and transportation, and for the first time app-based workers following Employbridge’s recent Bluecrew acquisition. While a full report and video presentation of 2023 findings is available, this year’s leading survey statistics include:

Economic pressure evident

  • Nearly half of workers in manufacturing (46.6%) and logistics (45.5%) report putting in more than 40 hours a week.
  • 90% of gig workers indicated they would look for more work over the next six months due to a possible economic recession in 2023.
  • Pay remains most important to job seekers despite a significant rise in average hourly wages since 2020.
  • Job security surpasses shift and schedule flexibility in importance for the first time in two years.

New appeal of gig economy

The broad appeal of the gig approach – defined as working a schedule that is less traditional than a five-day work week – is now significant across all business sectors.

  • Even among logistics and manufacturing employees, sectors not traditionally thought of in terms of gig work shifts, roughly one third would prefer four-day, 10-hour shifts (26.5% of manufacturing and 34.9% of logistics).
  • More than half of survey respondents (56%) are interested in a schedule where they choose which four- to six-hour shifts they want to work.
  • The vast majority (83%) of hourly workers across all verticals are willing to use an app to manage their work, choose their schedule, or find a job.

Desire to learn new skills

Advancement opportunities are among the top 3 drivers of loyalty among hourly workers. Workers want to learn new skills to reach their goals.

  • 44% of logistics workers and 42% manufacturing workers are willing to invest 5 or more hours of their time weekly to learn a new skill.
  • 54% of 18- to 24-year-olds are willing to invest their free time to upskill (vs. 46% or overall respondents.

Survey methodology

From January through March 2023, more than 29,000 respondents anonymously shared what matters most to them when seeking work, what employers can do to earn their loyalty, and more. This 17th year of the study provides a unique archive of qualitative and quantitative data on emerging trends and changing workforce priorities over time.

In addition to its annual Voice of the American Workforce Survey, Employbridge also helps close the skills gap across America’s supply chain by providing free, career-focused skills development courses to its temporary associates as well as personal development courses through the Better WorkLife Academy and Life Skills Studio. Approximately 20,000 temporary associates are enrolled annually. Employbridge is majority-owned by certain investment funds managed directly or indirectly by Apollo Global Management, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates.


Media contacts

Berry Brady: berry@fulltiltconsulting.com
Nancy Bro: nbroe@fulltiltconsulting.com

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