Industry Insights: Retail Hiring

Case Studies  |  July 7, 2021  |  14 Minute Read

Welcome to our brand new resource page for Retail Seasonal Hiring!

We built this page with you in mind – use it as a learning tool, reference page, and more!

This page is set up to give you the latest information on what’s happening in the hiring market right now, as well as the trends retailers are facing when it comes to hiring. We have compiled the latest stats, arming you with all the data you need to make informed decisions when looking at your seasonal hiring plan.

In this competitive market, employees are searching for connection and recognition. Now is the time to consider a benefit that incentivizes your employees and creates a stronger, healthier, and more engaged workforce.

The Retail Facts

  • The retail industry supports 1 in 4 American jobs and directly employs 32 million people
  • 29% of retail employees are part time, and they enjoy the flexibility of hours
  • An NRF Survey found that:
    37 % of part-time retail employees took a retail job because they are in school
    21 % because they work another job
    11 % because they are stay-at-home parents.
  • Part-time employment helps boost personal finances. An NRF study found:
    21 % of former part-time employees say their retail job helped them through a tough time financially
    14 % credit their retail job for giving them a “financial cushion”
    10 % say their job helped them pay off debt or loans.

Attracting essential workers

Staffing is a major pain point right now – it’s dangerous to work in grocery stores, many don’t have health benefits, worn out by constant cleaning and safety control measures, dealing with crazy non-compliant customers, scheduling is difficult for parents whose children are doing distance learning from home, switching roles to pickup and delivery, online orders, warehouse/stockroom work.

Major retailers are helping by:

  • Making minimum wage increase permanent
  • Giving special bonuses
  • Remaining shut on Thanksgiving Day to express appreciation for employees
  • Enacting new emergency leave guidelines
  • Funding financial assistance programs
  • Providing access to mental health services

Turnaround your turnover

Rehiring is expensive

The average cost to replace a single employee earning less than $30,000 per year is 16% of their annual salary.
(A study from CAP)

Know why they leave

This turnover can’t be boiled down to one thing, but the top two reasons for it are compensation (40%) and benefits (21%)

Rates are high

The average turnover rate in the retail space is 60% and staffing is a major pain point right now

“Some labor experts, though, say retailers are not going far enough in addressing structural problems in the industry. Retailers, they say, should be focusing more on stable schedules, safer working conditions and benefits like paid sick leave and vacation time.”


Watch the recap

Join Peter as he sums up the facts in this short video.

Employees are worried and feeling diconnected

  • 40% of employees globally are worried about losing their job.
  • 60% worry about lost income .
  • 46% of employees say they are less productive at work.
  • There’s a 221% increase in fearfulness among employees, and a 135% increase in feeling isolated.

Employees are getting burnt out

  • 79% of employees surveyed reported that they are experiencing mild, moderate, or severe burnout.
  • 38% of retail employees reported that burnout on the job had a negative impact on their health.
  • Harvard Business Review estimates that burn-out costs U.S. employers between $125 to $190 billion dollars in health-care spending each year.

What can you offer to attract workers feeling worried and burnt out?

  • Make employees your most important asset.
  • Retail companies must be willing to foster communication. Employees want to understand how their work contributes to the overall success of the company.
  • Allow employees to innovate ways to enhance the customer experience, streamline tasks, and increase efficiency.
  • Thoughtfully design, with intention, the workplace culture you want to create.
  • Focus on improving overall employee wellbeing.
  • Create positive everyday experiences so employees feel connected to their work, peers, and your organization.

Stressed employees are far less productive and provide lower levels of customer service which negatively affects an increasingly competitive industry.

A future in E-Commerce

“The biggest takeaway from 2020 is the shift to ecommerce; consumers have embraced online shopping with vigor and retailers have responded with the speedy rollout of new technologies, new apps and new ways of meeting shoppers’ needs. The words ‘contactless’ and ‘frictionless’ have quickly become part of the vernacular and companies that have managed to break the mold and adapt are winning.”

– Greg Petro, founder of First Insight, an experience management and digital testing firm for the retail industry, concurs in a recent Forbes essay, “Fewer stores does not mean fewer retail jobs.”

Wiki Infographic

E-commerce sales in the second quarter of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, were $211.5 billion, an increase of 44.5% over the second quarter of 2019, despite a decrease of 3.6% for total retail sales.


Focus on promoting job security and growth

The big picture

Throughout the year and the pandemic, the most successful retailers have effective omnichannel sales models and communications in place the real winners in the industry also embraced harmonized human capital management (HCM).

  • On-demand pay solutions
  • Retailers began to find new ways to serve their customers with a still reduced workforce – 40% at best. These changes led to more collaborative work models and a consolidation of skills among employees.
  • Expect more experimentation