3 factors to consider when applying for hourly jobs

There are very few resources dedicated to helping hourly workers advance their careers. That's why LinkedIn teamed up with Snagajob — the largest marketplace for hourly work — to surface insights that help take the guesswork out of hourly workers' job searches.

In Part I of our research series we highlighted the basic demographics of hourly workers. In this post, we'll help hourly workers decide which industries they should work in and how they can make themselves stand out from other applicants.

1. Hiring speed: sandwich shops and sports stores lead the pack

For many hourly workers, getting a job quickly is the difference between being able to pay the bills or not. That's why we analyzed hiring speed — or the time between job application and first day on the clock — across several industries.

We discovered that on average restaurants hire within 27 days versus 33 days in retail.

For some restaurants the average is as low as 15 days, which means your first day could come two weeks after applying. Retail takes six days longer on average, but certain retailers like sports and furniture stores are more similar to restaurants in terms of speed. So if getting hired fast is critical, you might prioritize your search around restaurants and/or the subset of retail stores that tend to hire quickly.

Fastest to hire (2)

2. Employee engagement: telecomm, grocery stores, and casual dining keep employees longest

But hiring speed is just one factor to consider when deciding where to apply. Another is employee engagement, or extent to which employees care about their jobs, are committed to their employer, and put effort into their work.

The length of time employees stay at a company can indicate how engaged they are at work. We analyzed how long employees stay as a surrogate for their engagement level, and discovered that telecommunications, casual dining, and grocery employers have the highest levels of hourly worker employee engagement. Sports retailers, beverages, and fast food employers have the lowest. It's likely that wage differences have an impact here, but we didn't consider them in our analysis.

Longest Retention

Choosing an industry based on hiring speed and employee engagement combined

When we looked at engagement and hiring time together, we found that in retail especially, the longer the hiring process, the longer employees stay. So if, for example, you're not pressed for time but a more engaged work environment is important, telecommunications may suit you.

Or let's say you're a college student studying art looking to make extra money. You don't want a job long-term so care less about turnover, and you're not strapped for cash so your start date isn't urgent. Crafts stores make sense because they match both your creative interests and workplace needs.

If you're not sure where to apply, decide what's important to you and use the guide below to help focus your efforts.

Fastest to hire

3. Number of job applications: the more the merrier

Now that you have some insight into where to apply, let's wrap up with some tips on how to apply. While we are starting to see more employers move to mobile-friendly job application, most still use a paper-based or web-based process which can take a lot of time and effort. So you may be wondering how many applications to submit. We looked at the application volume of hourly workers who were hired versus not hired over a six-month period. We discovered that hired workers applied to twice as many jobs as non-hired workers (eight applications versus four applications, on average).

Number of applications

This suggests that more is better. One likely reason for this is that the more jobs you apply to, the better you become at interviewing and marketing yourself. But don't simply apply for every job you come across; make sure you have the right skills and experience.

Up next: Top skills that get hourly workers promoted

Next up in Part III of our series we'll explore the skills of hourly workers and what it takes to get promoted. For those of you looking to get an edge over the competition, you won't want to miss it!

This is Part II in our four-part series on hourly workers. Check out Part I Creating Economic Opportunity for Hourly Workers.

Methodology: We analyzed Snagajob's job application activity to its top 142 employers over the past three years. This was comprised of 120 million+ applications by 20 million+ hourly workers. We then examined the millions of LinkedIn profiles with common hourly job titles to understand job application trends in hourly work.

The results of this analysis represent the world seen through the lens of LinkedIn and Snagajob data. As such, it is influenced by how members choose to use the LinkedIn site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis.