Recession Affecting Retail Hiring Trends

During 2008, the retail industry satisfied an immediate labor demand by hiring highly educated workers.  Unfortunately – that only solved one half of the problem.  


While executives are well aware of the global economic recession’s affects on sales and profitability, few may realize the full implications for their workforce.   


A trend emerged in 2008 of highly educated workers taking positions in hourly customer service positions.  Last year, more college educated workers were hired into retail sales positions than any another other occupation. 


This trend poses problems.  While immediate labor demand was satisfied, hiring college educated workers into these roles only shifts the labor challenge from today…to tomorrow.  When the recovery begins, retailers can expect to see high turnover as these workers return to their pre-recession occupations. 


What can retailers do?  Three things:


  1. Determine Your ImpactCollect data to determine how this industry-wide trend is showing up in your stores.
  2. Monitor Turnover DataMonitor turnover for this worker sub-group.  Watching the trend may give you an opportunity to prepare replacements.
  3. Hang On To ThemCollect information from the sub-group to see what it would take to retain them, if not in their current position, possibly in another.