The Forgotten Workforce: New Research on the Hourly Candidate

Many people holding up tablets in front of their faces with their pictures on the back

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 82 million workers in the United States are paid hourly, representing 58.5% of all wage and salary workers. Hourly workers comprise the largest segment of today’s workforce yet, these individuals are too often ignored.

I am so excited about the latest research study by Aptitude and Alexander Mann Solutions on The Forgotten Workforce. We found that only 62% of candidates hear back from an employer after they have applied for a job. This reality means that many hourly job seekers that invest the time to research and apply do not even get the courtesy of a response.

The latest chapter talks about strategies for improving the candidate experience for hourly job seekers. In industries like retail and hospitality, there is a direct correlation between the candidate experience and the success of the organization. The majority of companies that have filed for bankruptcy in 2019 include organizations in industries that hire hourly workers. Comparing these companies’ business performance and Glassdoor employee ratings, it becomes clear how closely the consumer experience and the candidate and employee experience are intertwined.

The average rating on Glassdoor is 3.4.

  Stores Closed Glassdoor Ratings
Sears 263 (by January) 2.8
Payless 2300 3.0
Gymboree 800 3.4
Charlotte Russ 416 3.2
Perkins 29 3.4
Forever 21 350 2.8
Shopko 363 3.0

Glassdoor announced its top 10 places to work in 2019 and number 3 on the list was In-N-Out Burger. In-N-Out Burger is close to $1 Billion in revenue and has a loyal customer base. It is a company that has not moved to a franchise model or gone public despite pressure to do so in the past few years. One reason for In-N-Out’s success is its commitment to its employees. In-N-Out pays its employees $14 an hour – well above minimum wage and supports policies and programs that recruit and retain talent.

We have three more chapters to publish in this report series that will look at topics such as age discrimination, industry trends, and candidate communication.


  • Madeline Laurano

    Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency. Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today. In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).