January 16th, 2023 | Joy Henry, Head of Technology and Business Services, Sterling

The Retail Industry’s Evolving Employment Landscape

Over the last few years, the retail industry has undergone significant change which has had a major impact on employment levels in the sector. From the rise of e-commerce, technological innovation, and the Covid-19 pandemic, retailers have experienced fluctuating hiring demands. Despite these fluctuations, the industry, which currently employs over 20 million people domestically, has experienced a 2.7% growth in employment.

Looking ahead to 2023, the retail industry’s employment landscape will continue to change. This creates both opportunities and challenges for those seeking jobs in the retail sector.

Here are some key trends that are shaping the retail job market:

  1. The rise of e-commerce: The proliferation of online shopping has led to a shift in the way that consumers make purchases, and this has had a major impact on the retail industry. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to compete with online sellers, leading to store closures and job loss. However, e-commerce companies have also created new employment opportunities, particularly in fulfillment, logistics, warehousing, and customer service.
  2. The growth of automation: Retailers are increasingly using automation to streamline their operations and reduce labor costs. This can include the use of self-checkout kiosks, automated inventory management systems, and robotic warehouse workers. While automation can increase efficiency and reduce costs, it can also lead to job loss for some employees.
  3. Changes in consumer behavior: The way that consumers shop and make purchases can change over time, and retailers need to adapt their business models in response. For example, if consumers shift away from buying certain types of products or start shopping more frequently online, retailers may need to adjust their staffing levels accordingly.
  4. Economic conditions: The health of the economy can have a big impact on employment levels in the retail sector. During economic downturns, consumers may reduce their spending, leading to pressure on retailers and potentially resulting in job loss or reduced hours for employees. Conversely, during times of economic growth, retailers may see increased demand and may need to hire more staff to meet it.
  5. The rise of experiential retail: In recent years, there has been a trend towards “experiential” retail, in which retailers focus on creating immersive, memorable experiences for customers. This can include things like in-store events, interactive displays, and personalized customer service. Retailers that embrace this trend may need to hire more staff to create and manage these experiences.

As the industry evolves, retail continues to be a major source of employment with many job opportunities in various areas of the sector in the coming years. Overall, the retail job market is likely to be dynamic and evolving in the coming years, with both challenges and opportunities arising as the industry adapts to changing consumer behavior, technological developments, and economic conditions. Those seeking jobs in the sector will need to be adaptable and flexible in order to take advantage of the opportunities that arise. Sterling can help you streamline your hiring process and decrease time to hire. You can learn more about your retail solutions here.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.