Performance Improvement 2009. How Do Employers View the Low-Wage Workforce?


This nationally representative survey of private-sector employers sought information about employers’ practices and workplace policies relevant for less-skilled workers. The survey gathered information on employer characteristics, job requirements, wages and benefits, hiring practices, and potential for advancement, focusing on employers’ most recently filled jobs noncollege jobs (jobs that required no more education than a high school degree or GED).

The study found that interpersonal skills and attitude were important factors in hiring. Willingness among noncollege employers to hire former welfare recipients was high. Many noncollege jobs were not unskilled but required prior job experience or skills training. Only a third of noncollege jobs were entry-level and thus readily accessible to job seekers with minimal prior experience and training. The median wage for noncollege jobs was $11 an hour, with jobs that required more skill and experience paying substantially better than other noncollege jobs. About two-thirds of recently filled noncollege jobs offered health insurance and pension plans to workers. An additional fifth of these jobs were in firms that provided these benefits to some workers, but the recently hired worker was ineligible due to short tenure or too few hours. More than two-thirds of recently filled noncollege jobs offered paid leave, although only half allowed use of this paid leave to care for a sick child or family member. few employment problems were reported for recently hired workers; the most common was tardiness, reported for nine percent of workers. The majority of noncollege jobs were reported by employers to offer an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ chance of promotion. Many workers on the job for at least six months had been promoted or had received raises. The median raise received was $1 per hour on a median starting wage of $9.50. Entry-level jobs with higher promotion possibilities included those in for-profit firms (versus nonprofits) and those with employers that offered formal training

Report Title: Understanding the Demand Side of the Low-Wage Labor Market: Final Report.
Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Mark Fucello, 202-401-5750
Performer: Urban Institute
PIC ID: 8924

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"PerformanceImprovement2009.pdf" (pdf, 1.26Mb)

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