November 11, 2022

Mathieu Stevenson, CEO of Snagajob on the Jobs Report and Hourly Workers

Dana Safa

1Huddle Podcast Episode #91

On this Bring It In podcast episode, 1Huddle’s CEO and Founder Sam Caucci sat down with Mathieu Stevonson, CEO at Snagajob, the country’s largest marketplace for hourly jobs and shifts.

On this episode of Bring It In season three, Mathieu sat down with Sam and discussed leading with empathy, how automation will impact future jobs, and what employees want from their managers.


Audio available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

TOP 3 HIGHLIGHTS

Below are some of the insights Stevenson shared during our chat, edited for length and clarity. You can find more Bring It In podcast episodes here.

  • “Hourly workers frankly want what most people want.”
  • “The top reason that people leave jobs is actually not pay.”
  • “There are still almost two jobs for every person looking.”

FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Sam: So I guess Mathieu, to kick us off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about Snagajob, and then we’re gonna have a ton of questions to dive into about the Workforce. But I guess out of the gate, if somebody didn’t know for whatever reason, or whatever planet they may be on that they’re not here, and does not know what Snagajob is, what’s your 30 seconds on Snagajob? 

Mathieu: I appreciate you asking. Snagajob Is the largest platform for hourly work in the US. So in a given month, we help 6 million workers find, whether it be full-time, part-time, or increasingly gig based shift work across over a million locations in the US and more than six and a half million jobs.

Sam: A lot of folks think about the workforce, they have probably certain perspectives or pictures that pop into their head right outta the gate, somebody that can work from home, somebody behind a desk. I guess what would be surprising for folks out there about what the workforce really looks like from your point of view?

Mathieu: Yeah, I think there are a couple of misconceptions, some of which I think Covid has shined a light on. One is I think this realization of just the fungibility of skill sets. I think pre pandemic I would hear a lot, particularly of hourly employers that would talk about the fact that they really wanted people from the industry. Because of the displacement of covid, I think people suddenly became aware that they were actually very successful hiring people from outside of the industry. And in fact, today we see the majority of hires in every industry are actually coming from outside of the industry. Two I think is sometimes there’s, I think a misconception, which I think is wrong, that hourly workers aren’t invested in their career and in growth within a company, that they’re just there for the paycheck.

And I personally think, I’m sure there’s a segment where that may be true, but by and large, I think hourly workers frankly want what most people want, right? Like, they want to be treated equitably. They want to understand sort of career pathing. They want to understand how they’re contributing on a day to day basis and the impact that they’re making.

And I think we’ve seen that in some of the, what I would call almost sort of ‘pseudo white collar programs’ that have started to become more of the norm in hourly. That in a lot of cases were driven by major US retailers, that those programs are having success, right? Because people are really valuing things like, ‘Hey, what’s a clear, like job pathing plan?’ Like they’re valuing some of the other benefits that historically have been very much the domain of white collar employees.

Sam: I read a Gallup survey. You probably have seen it when it came out in August. And they made the claim that, they asked workers what percent of them feel that their manager, their kind of direct report, cares about them at a personal level.

Mathieu: That’s right. 

Sam: And I think the number came in at 24%. It was the worst on record on this specific survey by Gallup. Does that surprise you? 

Mathieu: No. I think it doesn’t. I think that’s something that I think we hear and see a lot, candidly and hourly. The top reason that people leave jobs is actually not pay. Certainly pay is a component, but the top one is around the work environment, and in particular, the leadership.  And a lot of that is the notion of a good boss. 

I think one of the things that I think Covid has accelerated but is very different from maybe even when I started working 20 some odd years ago, is just the notion of leading with empathy, but then an understanding, and just frankly like caring for what employees are navigating through even beyond the work environment. I think that’s one of the, frankly, big changes in the last 10, 20 years. It’s just that I think employers and managers have to be more cognizant of what’s happening outside of the workplace, and even more so now in a remote environment where those lines blur, that’s even more important.

But I think that’s what employees care about, right? Is like, are you checking in on them, on how they’re doing and recognizing some of the things that they might be going through, either at work or outside of work. 

Sam: What do you think? Are there any specific tactics for the talent leader or maybe even the first time manager out there that doesn’t want to be a bad boss and maybe is kind of promoted into that role. Are there any specific tactics or trends you’re seeing, from a leadership perspective in the organizations that are doing it the right way? 

Mathieu: Yeah, I think a couple of thoughts there. One is, and it’s a very simple one, but oftentimes one that because of things that are on our mind, whether the operational et cetera, is just like, are you at least weekly just checking in on how somebody’s doing. Just asking that question like, ‘how are you doing both personally and professionally?’ That’s probably the easiest. 

The other, and it’s something again, I think organizations were oftentimes loathed to do in years past, but is that much more important now is whether you’re a manager, whether you’re in the corporate office, that when you’re communicating with frankly your colleagues, that you acknowledge what is going on both within the company and externally. Whether that’s the hurricane last week and people that they know that might be affected, right? Like, I think just that acknowledgement I think is really important for folks. 

And then the last, which is, is one in every situation, blue collar or white collar. How often are you actually giving people candid feedback and observations that help them in their career and even just linking that to where they might wanna go so that people understand that you are vested in their career just as much as what they’re delivering in that moment for the business.

Sam: Totally. It’s kinda like the, before you clock in and after you clock out stuff. 

Mathieu: That’s right. That’s right. And again, like testament to, I think the last few years we’ve just seen that accelerate, right? Where now organizations I think are weighing in, frankly, on whether it sometimes be controversial social topics, or things that are going on that historically they might not have.

All that I think is just a recognition that employees want and expect for you to acknowledge that they have a life outside of work and there are things going on outside and that impacts their work and their life. 

Sam: Is this a great time to be a worker? And the reason I ask, to give you a second, cause the reason I wanna set that up is you see a press conference last week by Elon Musk rolling out a robot that’s, depending on which news outlet you read, it’s everything from something that’s gonna help you to something that’s going to change human civilization depending on, again, on where you’re getting your news. You have Flippy, the burger flipper in the back of the house and restaurants that are taking away the fry station. I guess, is this a good time to be a worker?

Mathieu: I think so, right? I mean one, obviously, if you think about the current moment that we’re in by any historical measure, this is the strongest labor market that we have ever seen. If you’ve ever had a dream job to apply to, now is the time to do it.

And then listen, I think change is inevitable. I tend to believe in that. Yes, there will be change. Is robotics and the replacement of hourly workers probably long term and likely to have some impact? Sure. But I don’t think it displaces things that frankly, we know that humans are just fundamentally better adapted to do it.

So I view it as it will create new opportunities. There will be some roles that will obviously be impacted, but it’ll create new opportunities and put more emphasis on other skills like the social element of employees roles will become that much more important if certain back of house operations are able to be automated or done via robot.

And I don’t know that that’s necessarily a bad thing, right? Like for somebody to be able to spend their time in different areas than engaging with customers. Hopefully that’s a good thing. 

Sam: We got a jobs report coming out tomorrow. How closely are you watching it given your role at Snag and any predictions?

Mathieu: Yeah, I’m expecting, just like we saw in the Jolt report I’m expecting that we’ll see continued softening, but still relatively robust job growth. My sort of guess or expectation is in the 200, 250,000 net job creation. I think what we are starting to see though, in terms of the overall labor market is a bifurcation. I think we’re seeing that slowing or cooling of the labor market is actually predominantly in white collar. 

My expectation is if we do see a mild recession as the Fed predicts, that will be primarily in white collar, because if you look at even where the jobs have been primarily created over the last two years, really the job growth has been in white collar. If you look at sort of net job creation in blue collar, frontline industries, it’s basically flat, right? Like there’s still a million fewer people working in the leisure and hospitality industry than there were pre covid. 

Sam: Mm-hmm. Yeah. It makes you wonder, especially in the frontline and blue collar categories. The demand in those types of environments for workers to be able to continuously develop, reskill, be able to get onboarded quickly, being very important given a lot of these environments, whether it’s restaurants, hospitality, retail, still say finding talent is maybe number one, if not top two challenge today.

But once they find them, how do they develop them and keep them, and in some ways position ’em for the next role? Any thoughts around talent development for organizations, we’ve moved from a world where job training was in many ways a kind of event, one and done to a world where it feels like with automation we’re not this, It’s kinda like continuous is the way to go. Any thoughts around talent development?

Mathieu: I mean, this is again where I go back to, I think what has historically been a misconception about the investment that hourly workers want to make in their employer and their career. I think the, again, the white collarization of blue collar that we have seen with a number of employers rolling out whether it be formal education programs, whether it be accelerated managerial job pathing, whether it be benefits historically reserved for white collar employees like mental health or even maternity and paternity leave, I think clearly those were done in the context of a tight labor market.

But I think if you look at the early results of those, cuz again, the longevity of those will depend on the ROI. The earlier results are really promising, right? Like if you look at like Chipotle, as an example, has published around the results of their program, it’s pretty remarkable right around what you see in terms of like the progression, the retention rates of the employees who have self-selected into those programs.

And so I think again, it’s a strong signal, there’s a desire there. And sometimes we have to be willing to challenge some of our own sort of misconceptions around what people actually really want. 

Sam: I do a lot of work locally, we’re based here in Newark, New Jersey, and do a lot of work in the community with workforce development programs, reentry programs, and homeless youth. Any advice for folks out there who are trying to figure out how to take the next step in their career or trying to figure out how to get off the sidelines? Again, for the worker that’s out there, that’s listening, that is trying to consider how they step up, what do you have to say to them right now?

Mathieu: A couple things. One is, again, remember that there are still almost two jobs for every person looking, and so it is a great time to be a job seeker. And I know it may not always feel that way when you’re the individual looking, but it’s important to remember like, people need you.

And two, don’t get caught in the trap of saying, ‘Well I worked in X industry, or I’ve only done X, like, how do I work in Y?’ I think one of the great silver linings of Covid has been the realization that people have that frankly, like the training can happen on the job, what matters most is somebody’s attitudinal makeup.

And if you’ve got the right intrinsics, just in terms of attitudinal makeup, like you’re somebody that works well in teams, you get along with others, you’re dependable, you’re hard working, like the rest can be trained, and I think that’s a big change that I think employers have recognized over the last couple of years, and so frankly have the confidence to know that you may not have worked in that industry, but you can learn it.

Sam: I mean, I love the work you’re doing. I think that we need more, whether it’s organizations, initiatives, people that are helping us to see the talent in every worker that exists today in the workforce. And I wanna ask you just one final question. With all the talk of future of work, what is your hope for the future of work?

Mathieu: Yeah, I think for me, and obviously I think a lot about the future of hourly work. There are probably two things that I hope and, and candidly expect to see over the next five, 10 years. One is that the best hourly workers in their respected profession, whether that’s being a cashier,  a dishwasher, a barista, or a a warehouse associate, that through their profile, that they are able to one command a premium for their services, just like the best in their respective professions and white collar are able to do, and two, that increasingly, like you may be the best barista in the world today, but unless you go to a site and look for a job, jobs don’t find you. And I think that psychologically for hourly workers, will be one of the great changes that we will see is that they will actually have jobs that seek them out. And psychologically, I think that confidence building is so powerful. 

The other that I increasingly believe is hourly, much more so than white collar, like the notion of how you work is much more fluid. Meaning do you need full-time? Do you need part-time? Do you need a mix of full-time and some individual gig work? I think we’re starting to see the evolution where workers are now being able to tap into multiple different income streams while still having a home. I don’t view it as a future of like, everyone becomes a professional gig worker. I don’t think that’s the case. Certainly not hourly, like people value having a home to build their career, but the notion we’re more flexible and they can pick up and earn supplemental income, leveraging their skill, I think this is going to be a huge revolution for hourly workers and frankly for employers as well in terms of meeting uncertain demand. 

Sam: Great. Well, Mathieu, wishing you the best luck the rest of the year, and thanks for joining us. 

Mathieu: Yeah. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Topics Discussed: Hourly Workers, Leadership, Automation, Talent Development


Dana Safa Manager of Digital Marketing at 1Huddle