The No. 1 priority among America's hourly workers

June 21, 2022

There are a variety of factors that come into play when someone is deciding whether to take a new job. Does it fit with my lifestyle? What are the benefits? How much will I earn? And what is the commute like? These are just a few of the questions that one would ask.

In the recently released results of our 2022 Voice of the Blue-Collar Worker survey, where 19,500 employees were surveyed, workers ranked what was most important to them when taking a job.

It may come as no surprise that pay rates ranked No. 1 when it came to what is most important to blue collar workers and their jobs. After all, the main reason people work at all is for the money. It's even more important to people than it was just last year in 2021. Nearly 40% of those surveyed said pay was most important to them, while 32% reported that in 2021. The next most important factors this year? Job security, scheduling and consistent pay increases.

Job security is a major factor to consider because although you may find a high-earning job, if the future of it is uncertain that may be a gamble you're not willing to take. If there is a clear path for advancement and growth, and a strong company to back it, that's much more appealing to workers.

For many people, a schedule might determine whether they can take a job, but good pay may make them willing to rearrange their schedule for it. According to the survey however, the majority of people would take a week of paid time off over a $1 per hour increase. This is the delicate balance that varies between people coming down to how much they value their time and what they have going on in their personal lives. For someone with kids or elderly family members to take care of, their schedule might not be as flexible as someone without those responsibilities. The same goes for students or those who might be working multiple jobs.

And considering inflation, it makes sense that the pressure to earn more is a top priority. And wages do seem to be rising, according to the survey. But are they increasing enough to keep people happy? Maybe not. Among those surveyed, 53% of males stated they were looking for a new job. When it came to females, 37% said they were actively seeking a new job. A number of sources, including Bloomberg, have reported that salary increases aren't able to keep up with the rise of inflation.

So what's not as important to blue collar workers in 2022? Factors that didn't make the list that have in the past are: company culture, the commute, and benefits. While these still remain part of the consideration when taking a job, they aren't as important as they once were.

When evaluating employees and considering how to hire and retain them, keep these factors at the top of mind.