Retaining Retail Workers Getting Harder: Survey

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Retaining Retail Workers Getting Harder: Survey

CHICAGO -- Customers may not be the only audience that needs selling as retailers struggle to retain existing talent and recruit new talent, according to a recent survey.

Nearly half of all retail employers (48 percent) surveyed said it is harder to retain employees this year compared to last year.

The survey also found that nearly three in 10 (28 percent) employees plan to leave their jobs within the next year, and 46 percent within two years.

Retail employees cite lack of career advancement opportunities, unsatisfactory pay, increased workload, and work/life balance concerns as contributing factors to their restlessness.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted a nearly five percent growth overall in retail sales in 2007. To keep up with consumer demand, 81 percent of retail employers said they plan to hire new employees in 2007, the survey said.

With 42 percent citing the inability to find qualified workers as the biggest impediment to hiring more people, retail employers said they are increasing workplace flexibility (34 percent), wage/salaries (32 percent), benefits (18 percent) and bonuses (16 percent) to retain current employees.

Further, while 62 percent of retail employees reported they were satisfied with their current job overall, nearly 70 percent (69 percent) were either actively seeking or would be open to a new job if they came across one.

"Turnover isn't a new challenge for retailers," said Rosemary Haefner, v.p., "However, as the labor pool continues to shrink and retailers feel the pressure from consumers to keep doors open longer -- even 24 hours a day -- many retailers are embracing more competitive hiring and retention programs."

When it comes to job satisfaction, more than a quarter of workers (27 percent) surveyed feel they have been overlooked for a promotion at their current job, according the survey, which also found 44 percent of participants claming to be unsatisfied with their pay. One-third (33 percent) are dissatisfied with their work life balance, with more than half (54 percent) reporting that their workload is either heavy or too heavy.

In terms of career advancement, 34 percent are dissatisfied with opportunities at their current position and 36 percent are dissatisfied with the training and learning opportunities.