Abstract: Pathways from Workplace Flexibility to Turnover Intention Among Low-Wage Workers (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

584P Pathways from Workplace Flexibility to Turnover Intention Among Low-Wage Workers

Saturday, January 19, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Min-Kyoung Rhee, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Sookyung Park, PhD, Professor, Yonsei University
Chung Kwon Lee, PhD, Researcher, Inha University
Background and Purpose: With 23.5% of all workers engaged in low-wage jobs, South Korea has one of the largest shares of low-wage workers and the highest overall wage inequality among OECD countries. Low-wage workers, who earn less than two thirds of the median income, tend to experience more frequent job turnover, and turnover imposes high costs particularly for them because they experience longer periods of joblessness, frequent job spells, and reduced earnings. Although many organizations have adopted workplace flexibility to attract and retain employees, little is known about how accessible low-wage workers are to workplace flexibility and through which mechanism it is beneficial in reducing job turnover. Thus, this study aimed to explore potential pathways of the effect of workplace flexibility on turnover intentions, with a particular focus on the roles of work–family conflict, family–work conflict, and job satisfaction.

Methods: Using purposive sampling, data were collected from 295 low-wage employees working in private organizations located in Seoul and Gyeong-gi areas in 2013. After excluding 39 individuals who earned more than two thirds of the median income, two individuals who were self-employed, and four individuals who did not respond to the main variables, the final sample included in the study was 250 low-wage workers. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the mechanisms of the effect of workplace flexibility on turnover intention. Mediating effects of work-family and family-work conflicts and job satisfaction were examined.

Results: The average age of the sample was 44.8 years (SD = 11.9) and about 76% were women. Half of the sample had an educational level of high school or less, and about 53% were nonregular workers. 68.4% worked full time, over a half (53.2%) of the sample had a tenure of less than 3 years in their current job. Approximately 74% of the participants reported that they had access to five or fewer workplace flexibility options. The structural model (χ2(95) = 208.848, p < .001, CFI = .933, TLI = .916, GFI = .907, and RMSEA = .069) indicated the significant paths from workplace flexibility to turnover intentions. Access to less workplace flexibility was associated with higher work–family conflict (β = -.35, p < .001) and family–work conflict (β = -.26, p < .001). Higher work–family conflict decreased job satisfaction (β = -.54, p < .001), and lower job satisfaction was significantly associated with higher turnover intention (β = -.24, p < .01). Results of bootstrapping analyses showed that work–family conflict and job satisfaction were significant mediators in the effect of workplace flexibility on turnover intention.

Conclusions and Implications: Findings highlight limited access to workplace flexibility among low-wage workers in South Korea. Considering the significant protective role of workplace flexibility in reducing turnover intentions of low-wage workers, it is imperative for organizations to provide diverse options of workplace flexibility options to low-wage workers.