“My life isn’t worth a dead-end job”, – said a 23-year-old retail worker quoted by Washington Post. For growing numbers, a dead-end job is synonymous with working in retail and one of the reasons why retail workers are quitting.

Fruitful employment is a give-and-take situation. Your staff members will do their best and stay with you if you’re an employer who demands – but also rewards.

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Retail, however, is one of the industries where the imbalance of giving and taking is present, reflected by extremely high turnover rates. According to the latest data, the American retail and sales sector saw a 69.7% employee turnover rate.

Considering the number of employees who quit voluntarily, there’s a problem.

So, what exactly makes people consider retail jobs dead-end and contributes to why retail workers are quitting?

Is the Money Worth It?

Retail jobs are, to a great extent, entry-level. For that reason, the earnings can also leave a lot to wish for. And although any salary is better than no salary, there is a point some of us start to ponder whether our current job is worth it.

For many, it’s not.

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A retail worker, Aislinn Potts, told Washington Post“It [the pandemic] was a really dismal time, and it made me realize this isn’t worth it”.

And she wasn’t the only one concluding that the workload and effort they put into the job isn’t worth the money. 29% of the US retail employees point to compensation as one of the top reasons for leaving.

Yet, offering a pay rise won’t fix the issue.

The Customer Is Always Right

Or so the saying goes. And although this approach is excellent for your business, it can be a real pain point and the reason why your retail workers are quitting.

Zipline’s 2022 report revealed that 64% of retail staff members had noticed customers being more confrontational or verbally aggressive since March 2020. Moreover, 41% of the surveyed claimed stress coming from dealing with customers had brought them to tears.

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Retail employees are on the front lines. They’re the people who bring profit to your business but also the first ones to deal with customers’ behaviours. Sometimes, that’s the breaking point even for well-seasoned employees.

In the UK, one in five retail workers considers quitting their job, partially due to abuse from customers.

As a manager or a business owner, you should empower your employees to stand their ground. And if they can’t, they should know they can always turn to you or the present shift manager to handle to situation.

What should never happen, however, is letting your staff think they’re left alone and have to take all the heat because “the customer is always right”. 

Working in Retail is Not the Only Thing in Your Employee’s Life

Working shifts is an almost guaranteed characteristic of the retail industry. By accepting the job, you agree to the conditions. But what you don’t agree to is scheduling issues.

Chaotic shift scheduling or regularly asking the staff to work overtime, perhaps due to understaffing, can contribute to stress and dissatisfaction on many levels. While many can cope with that for a while, sacrificing your social or family life and not being able to plan the future can turn into a breaking point. And a quitting point.

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Still, shift scheduling is a big issue. According to a 2021 Shift Project that surveyed retail and food service personnel:

– 64% received a schedule with less than two weeks’ notice

– 57% experienced chaotic shift changes (e.g. with one day or less notice)

Adopting responsible scheduling should be your priority. A field experiment at Gap retail clothing stores showed that putting such practices in place benefited the brand with a 5.1% increase in productivity and 3.3% bigger store sales.

What about turnover? An FSG and Hart Research Associates polled hourly workers, and the findings are telling. 83% of them would be more likely to stay with their current employer if they had more control over their work schedules.

Retail Workers Are Quitting Because They’re Drained. Physically and Mentally

While we’d like to think that working in retail is simple and undemanding, the reality is far from true. Working shifts on your feet for long hours and being happy-go-lucky no matter what can drain anyone. Retail workers are no exception.

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The Industry informs that 21% of the UK’s retail staff reports feeling so exhausted at the end of each working day that they can’t enjoy their time off. Zipline’s 2022 findings further support the data. Four in ten full-time retail associates reported their mental health had worsened in the past year. 

The aftermath? Almost half (48%) of the polled said they considered quitting their job in the past 12 months. 

Nobody can be a productive employee when their job prevents them from having a meaningful life. To avoid losing staff, improve employee satisfaction before they start eyeing the exit door. You can do that by having regular check-ups or offering paid mental health days.

Retail Workers Are Quitting Because…

They want a well-balanced work-life. To be paid adequately for the workload and efforts they put into their work. Get support from the managers and see that their mental health is considered important.

Simply put, they want employers to treat them as valuable individuals who, to a great extent, are responsible for your business’ success. Failing to provide the staff with the respect they deserve is (or will be) likely why your retail workers are quitting.

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