Frontline worker trends challenge hiring managers, companies

The state of the frontline worker, across volatile sectors like healthcare, logistics, customer service, hospitality and others, remains mixed post-pandemic. Upheaval in this space has cost companies millions to hire and replace workers, mid- and senior-level managers and skilled specialists.

A new report from workforce researchers Fountain spells this out in its annual Benchmarking Report for 2023, which draws data among application, hire and compensation rates for frontline workers. The report illustrates the differences among the number of positions available, number of applicants, percent hired and at what average rate, providing valuable data for hiring managers and company leaders.

Among the study’s findings on frontline workers:
• Healthcare has seen the largest jump in advertised wages.

• Healthcare hiring was at its peak throughout 2022 but has recently cooled, falling to its lowest level since 2021, inverse to a recent spike in application rates that may be related to rising pay.

• Logistics, Warehouse Operations and Call Centers are seeing the highest application rates.

• Logistics and Warehouse Operations have the highest rate of hiring while Call Centers have the lowest.

• After a 2022 boom, Warehouse Operations and Logistics applications have returned to the same level as early 2021.

• Video interviews are proving more successful than in-person for Hospitality and Call Centers but not Healthcare, where applicants are gravitating toward phone and in-person interviews.

• Logistics and Warehouse Operations are experiencing a higher rate of background check completion but lower rates of contract signing, suggesting there may be an issue with the schedule options or wages being offered.

The insights come from Fountain’s proprietary data covering more than 4 million applications and thousands of job openings from high volume employers who hire upwards of 1,000 applicants per year.

The frontline workforce makes up 70 percent of U.S. jobs, according to McKinsey. For office-based industries, hires, openings, and quits have returned to their pre-pandemic levels according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But for frontline industries, there were 25 percent more job openings in July 2023, compared to July 2019, and quit rates are at their highest levels since the pandemic.

All of this is important as companies and hiring managers weigh their frontline worker needs and macroeconomic trends in preparation for the holiday season – and beyond. Consult with a recruiter for additional insights.

Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy / Pexels

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