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Shift Work Economy Report Fact Sheet

Shift Work Economy Report Fact Sheet


The labor force has drastically changed in the last year due to COVID-19. We saw the rise of the essential worker and the impacts the pandemic has had on those in the shift work economy. They’ve faced unpredictable schedules, long hours and health risks in order to make ends meet amid a tumultuous economic environment and chaotic response to handling the novel coronavirus.

"Deputy sits at the heart of the labor market, giving us the unique opportunity to see live impacts and changes across the global workforce," said Dave Zinman, Global President at Deputy. "As the world heals from the destruction of COVID-19, Deputy Workforce Insights will help us better navigate the labor market and track the journey to recovery at both a localized, regional and global level. The data now available provides a powerful and unprecedented outlook on the health of the Shift Work Economy."

Deputy––the shift work management software company––conducted a 2021 Shift Work Economy Report, analyzing U.S. customer data across 83,661 businesses and over 1.3 million shift workers across hospitality, healthcare, retail and services industries. The shift work economy is defined as workplaces with paid-by-the-hour employees or scheduled shifts on either an agreed, rotating or irregular basis. Below are high-level findings and data from the 2021 Deputy Shift Work Economy Report that reveal the state of the labor force from January 2019 to May 2021. 

  • Baby Boomers worked the most, despite being the most at-risk to COVID. On average, this group worked more hours (predominantly in healthcare) than Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X, while also accounting for only 5.7% of the hourly workforce.
  • American shift workers face unpredictability in their work schedules. Scheduled hours compared to hours worked vary almost 85.25 hours on average, meaning most deal with last-minute shift changes that make it difficult to plan their personal lives.
  • Women work longer shifts but get scheduled less. Females make up 62% of the shift workforce and average a shift length of 8.1 hours compared to males’ 7.9 hours. However, men are consistently given more hours per month in scheduled work than women, providing males more predictability and security in shifts than women.
  • Fast-food workers maintained a more stable schedule than those employed in other hospitality businesses. Riddled with changing local legislation, lockdowns and preventative measures, restaurants suffered the most shift instability with an average of 22,365 hours per month compared to fast-food workers who averaged 119,761 hours per month.
  • The Amazon Effect on the shift work economy. eCommerce took off during the pandemic and businesses felt pressure to meet consumer expectations popularized by online retail behemoths like Amazon. In turn, Baby Boomers on average were working 14-15 hour shifts during the months of September and October 2020 in comparison to the 7-8 hour shifts they were working in June and July 2020.

For more data, information, and analysis on specific industries and demographics, please reference the Deputy’s 2021 Shift Work Economy Report below.

Download a copy of the report:

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SWE-Report-US-2021 .pdf 4 MB

About Deputy

Deputy is on a mission to Simplify Shift Work™. The company streamlines scheduling, timesheets, tasks, and communication for over 260,000 business owners and their workers, providing millions of shift workers with more flexibility and control over their schedules and employers more efficiency in their operations. Additionally, Deputy navigates state-by-state legislation calculating correct wages, entitlements, and penalties to keep businesses compliant and employees protected. To learn more about Deputy, visit



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