Non-standard work schedules and retention in the entry-level hourly workforce


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr James E. Martin, Department of Management and Information Systems, School of Business Administration, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202-3489, USA (e-mail:


Non-standard work schedules involve work outside the Monday–Friday daytime hours. Although research has heavily studied the health and family effects of such schedules, few studies have investigated their relationship to retention. We draw from Maertz and Campion's discussion of motivational forces that influence turnover to propose that employees on non-standard schedules are more likely to quit their employer because of general job dissatisfaction and because of normative pressures from family and/or friends. Specifically, we hypothesized that employees on day shifts or weekday only schedules would remain with their employer longer than those who work on nonday shifts or on the weekends. We also hypothesized that perceived employment mobility would moderate the effects of non-standard schedules on retention length. Hypotheses were tested among 3,178 retail employees who worked five different distinct shift arrangements and different weekday/weekend schedules. Cox regression analyses indicated that, as hypothesized, employees working nonday shifts or schedules including weekends remained with their employer for a shorter duration of time than employees not on such schedules. Perceived mobility moderated the schedule–turnover relationship, though not in the hypothesized manner. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for work schedule assignment and retention strategies.