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Supply Chain News: What do Warehouse and Factory Workers Value in the Jobs?


Annual Voice of the Blue Collar Worker Report Finds Wages Key Issue, but Flexibility is Rising in Importance

June 15, 2021
SCDigest Editorial Staff

What do blue collar workers in distribution, manufacturing, and logistics think about the jobs in terms of pay, job satisfaction and more?

Supply Chain Digest Says...

What’s more, among workers who chose to stay in a job for five years or longer, the reason they cited most often was “I liked my work schedule,” the report finds.

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Always an important top, the issues around blue collar employees are critically important now, with what appears to be a severe shortage of distribution and factory workers in the US.

The number of open blue-collar jobs is higher than it was before the pandemic – and even higher than the number of available workers.

“While fair and competitive pay will always attract employees, companies can maintain their workforce by focusing on providing a great work environment, where workers’ needs are considered and addressed, and employees can count on being treated with respect,” says staffing firm EmployBridge, in its annual “Voice of the Blue Collar Workforce” report for 2021.

This year’s report is based on survey response from almost 16,000 warehousing, logistics and distribution industry workers, so the results have a lot of validity.

Early on, the report notes that baby boomers still perform much of the nation’s blue-collar work. The problem: they are leaving the workforce in droves.

“As Gen Z enters the workforce, it’s important to understand how their needs and motivations may differ from those of previous generations,” the report notes.

Why do blue collar supply chain workers take a new job? No surprise here, but wage level tops the list, at 32%, as shown in the graphic below. Job security and shift/schedule tied for second place, each cited by 12% of workers.

To throw some light on the issue of pay, EmployBridge says that in 2020, the average wage of the workers it places rose above the cost of living amazingly for the first time since 2002.

Current hourly wage rates across all workers surveyed is about $16.58 per hour, the report finds, but it notes there are significant differences across different local labor markets.


Source EmoloyBridge

(See More Below)




68% of respondents said it would take a pay increase of at least $2.00 an hour - about $4000 per year for a full-time employee - to motivate them to change jobs.

Flexibility in terms of schedules and more is becoming more and more important to workers, EmployBridge says.

For example, 73% of those surveyed would trade an increase of $1.00 per hour for an extra five days of paid time off.

“Considering that the most common reason for absences were health-related (34%) and personal emergencies (25%), a combination of flexible scheduling for doctor visits or family commitments coupled with a more flexible shift schedule could go a long way toward attracting and retaining employees,” the report observes.

What’s more, among workers who chose to stay in a job for five years or longer, the reason they cited most often was “I liked my work schedule,” the report finds.

Somewhat along the same lines, the average bump in pay that would entice a worker to move from first shift to another averaged $1.48 from this year’s respondents. That’s up from 85 cents in 2015.

EmployBridge recommends that companies consider such tactics such as providing options for employees to work a compressed, four-day schedule, or staggered work shifts with a window of optional start times.

The report is available here: The Voice of the Blue Collar Workforce

What do you think of the report data and suggestions? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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