Retail Industry Faces Resignation Rate Surge Among Part-Time Workers

Retail Industry Faces Part-Time Worker Resignation Rate Surge

Turnover among part-time employees in the retail industry has reportedly skyrocketed since the pandemic.

Before 2020, the turnover rate stood at around 75%. Since then, the rate has leaped to 95%, Bloomberg reported Friday (Sept. 7), citing data from Korn Ferry.

The report attributed the rise in part to the increase in shoplifting incidents, confrontational customers, increased responsibilities and the management of online orders that have come along since 2020. These challenges have joined the traditionally difficult conditions faced by retail workers, including low wages, unpredictable schedules and tedious duties.

These issues have driven the surge in resignation rates among the 8 million Americans employed in the retail industry, according to the report. The quit rate for retail workers is 70% higher than that in other industries, per a 2022 McKinsey study.

One issue faced by retail workers is an increasing irritability among customers that began with the safety protocols during the pandemic and has continued in the time since, the report said. The National Retail Federation (NRF) has reported a rise in “guest-on-associate violence” over the past five years.

Retail workers have also had to deal with an environment in which their safety and security are compromised, per the report. Instances of shoplifting have increased significantly, with large retailers reporting a surge in theft incidents.

These workers often find themselves caught between a desire to maintain good customer service and the need to address unacceptable behavior, according to the report. Eighty-nine percent of frontline retail workers are reluctant to intervene when customers misbehave due to the fear of repercussions from management.

There are also the issues of low wages and irregular hours. Despite a slight increase in retail wages compared to other industries, retail workers still earn significantly less than the median U.S. worker. Inflation has eroded much of the wage gains, leaving employees questioning the value of their work when faced with numerous challenges.

The difficulty of hiring and retaining workers has led some retailers to compete in the labor market with competitive wages, flexible hours, product discounts and, for those hired for seasonal positions, permanent employment.

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