Employer Payments Platform Branch Shares Latest Updates on Financial Status of Hourly Wage Earners

Branch, which assists businesses with streamlining payments to empower working US residents, has shared findings from its third annual Branch Report, which has examined the financial, work, and lifestyle interests of today’s hourly workers.

As noted in an update shared with CI:

“In surveying over 3,000 hourly employees across a variety of sectors including food service, retail, and healthcare, the 2021 report reveals how hourly workers have reacted to the labor shortage, what they want from their workplace, and how their emergency savings have improved after the first year of the pandemic.”

As workers struggle to fill jobs, around 60% of respondents believe that firms are having a difficult time hiring workers, while 15% think the difficulty is “only in certain regions and industries.”

What they cite as a “key” cause: “the need for higher wages,” the announcement noted while adding that the majority believe that the labor shortage is “caused by workers earning more on unemployment benefits and stimulus checks (68%) and that companies need to provide higher wages (59%).”

They also believe that fear of COVID-19 crisis and resulting exposure is “the third leading factor (46%).” However, unemployment benefits and stimulus checks have not affected how much today’s hourly workers are working —71% are “working about the same and another 11 percent are even working more,” the announcement from Branch revealed.

As stated in the report:

“Also contributing to the tight labor market is that many are unlikely to leave jobs soon: the majority of respondents (58%) don’t plan on switching jobs in the next six months. About a quarter are open to switching but not actively looking (27%), and only 11% are actively looking. If they were to make the jump, the biggest motivator would be higher wages (64%), with the option to work from home a distant second (15%).”

Although they may be staying put, they’re still “seeking higher wages in their current positions,” the report revealed while noting that when respondents were asked about what they want out of their current workplace, 69% “cited higher wages followed by scheduling predictability (51%) and strong work culture (45%).”

As noted in the update:

“Hourly workers’ financial situations saw improvement in the last year likely due to rising wages and stimulus checks, with emergency savings and financial priorities returning to pre-pandemic levels. The percentage of hourly workers with $0 savings dropped from 52% down to 41%, on par with the 40% reported in 2019.”

The portion of workers with over $1000 saved in emergency savings “doubled from 7% to 15%” but the vast majority (77%) still “have less than $500 saved,” the report revealed.

Atif Siddiqi, Founder and CEO at Branch, stated:

“Companies will need to provide a range of benefits along with higher pay in the competition for attracting and retaining hourly talent. Especially as workers recover from the financial toll of the pandemic, companies that offer wages and benefits that can set workers on a stronger path to financial and career stability will win out.”

Among financial concerns, hourly workers are “concerned about home/rent affordability (62%) at higher rates than previous years, followed by utility bills (53%), and groceries (38%),” the report noted while adding that workers became “even more concerned with Medical/Healthcare costs (32%), which surpassed Autocare/Transportation (28%) this year.”

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