In a record-low unemployment environment, companies attract and retain supply chain talent by building flexibility into employees' schedules, says Jarah Euston, co-founder and chief executive officer of WorkWhile.
If the pandemic brought anything good, it’s flexibility for the workforce. Employees now get to work from home and when and where they're going to be online. “I think after the pandemic, the genie is out of the bottle,” says Euston. “All workers, no matter if you're part of the office workforce, on the floor of the distribution center or a delivery driver, everybody now is craving that flexibility they started to experience during COVID, when it wasn't for fun but for safety that we needed that flexibility.”
The trend now, especially among hourly workers, is the desire to craft their own schedule and work when it makes sense for their lives. Nevertheless, there’s a difference between office staff working remotely and those holding down high-volume roles in supply chain, Euston says. The latter might not be able to work from home. “Flexibility” is the keyword, not “remote.”
She says a McKinsey study found 36 million Americans working what they would call flexible jobs, where they determine their schedules. Some of the 76 million Americans who work hourly jobs are part of that flexible workforce already. “What we've seen in our research is that 63% of people working in a flexible capacity, including in supply chain, have been doing it for more than a year now,” Euston says. “So a trend that may have been accelerated during COVID continues, and I think it's here to stay for supply chain jobs. That means more flexible routes for drivers. The same thing for distribution center staff and other types of light industrial jobs. They’re moving more to a flexible way so they can attract and retain more talent.”
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