April 16, 2007

Recruitment and Retention of the Frontline and Hourly Wage Worker: A Business Perspective

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Throughout the country—communities both small and large—
are in the midst of economic change. While traditional industries
such as manufacturing continue to decline in many geographic
areas, others, namely health care, retail, and hospitality, are growing
rapidly—and are projected to continue growing for the foreseeable
future. And while employment opportunities in these industries abound,
these part-time and full-time hourly wage and frontline positions (e.g.,
medical assistants, food workers, cashiers) are staffed by employees
whose family incomes fall within lower-income brackets. Among hourly
(nonexempt) employees, 30% earn low wages (less than $10.00 per
hour in 2006), and 28% live in low-income families (below 200% of
the federal poverty threshold). With the right support, these workers
will be productive, stable, and upwardly mobile, providing maximum
benefit to employers.