How do Modern Business Practices Introduce Barriers to Hiring and Retaining "Hidden Workers"?
Within America’s increasingly competitive talent pool lies a large, underutilized, and greatly unsupported population: “hidden workers.” These are individuals who are willing and able to work but possess one or more barriers that contradict with employers’ profiles of a “viable” candidate, therefore struggling to find full-time employment. (More information on potential barriers can be found in Appendix 1.) The term “hidden workers” encompasses a broad range of individual circumstances but can be generalized into a few categories: older workers; caregivers of children or elders; the formerly incarcerated or recovered substance users; those with physical or mental health issues; military veterans who lack civilian licenses or certifications; and immigrants or refugees who lack regional language skills. Though these workers may seem unfavorable from a more traditional recruiting perspective, organizations which actively hire hidden workers are less likely to face talent shortages and more likely to close skills gaps, proving that supporting them is both a strong moral objective and a strong business case. This executive summary seeks to identify key ways in which hidden workers are disproportionately challenged by modern business practices, highlighting how employers may actively work to mitigate the adverse effects of said practices while supporting hidden workers throughout the hiring, re-entering, and retention processes.
human resources; hybrid work; remote work; hidden workers; diversity; inclusion; equity; retention; attraction; hiring; culture; flexible work; measurement