Labor

Here’s a reading list of how the pandemic has changed the retail workforce

Plus, how can we expect it to keep changing?
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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We didn’t time this to today’s jobs report, but maybe we should say that we did.

This month, Retail Brew will be on workforce watch, breaking down the industry’s biggest labor trends. Now, we all know the pandemic has transformed the world of retail and its workers. So, to kick us off, we put together a reading list of stories about how things have changed—and ones predicting how they’ll keep changing.

Search party: Retailers want to know where the workers are. But this Business Insider piece makes the case that the industry’s labor shortage won’t be fixed until those on-the-ground roles become a “viable, long-term career again.”

  • And the answer isn’t just boosting wages. “They have to start thinking a bit outside the box and create a culture that shows retail is not just a fly by night seasonal thing,” Miya Knights, a retail analyst, told Business of Fashion.
  • The same goes for luxury brands.
  • Meanwhile, grocers are turning to automation to fill holes left by empty roles.

Joining forces: Global retail consultant Joel Bines just explained to us that consumers are now in the driver’s seat. Well, Recode lays out why workers, too, have more power. (Hint: Companies really want to keep the ones they already have.)

But speaking of power shifts, unions are back in the spotlight.

  • Vice digs into why the efforts at Starbucks could be spreading from Buffalo to stores all over the country.
  • And the Teamsters, one of the largest unions in the US, are interested in talking to more and more Amazon workers.

Looking ahead…What does the future of work look like for retail? McKinsey covers the importance of resilience and reskilling.

  • Sorry, but it does look like the future will probably include the metaverse (don’t @ us). Here’s who companies should be hiring to make it a reality.—GT
Stay up to date on the retail industry

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