As stores cut jobs, retailing lags behind other industries.


As stores cut jobs, retailing lags behind other industries.

Harry friedman has spent 35 years as an entry-level retail consultant in customer service and other basic knowledge. But over the years, he has not retrained retail workers’ new skills.

“No, we don’t do anything,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone would do that.”

Many retail workers are experiencing what economists call “job losses”, meaning they lose their jobs because of major technological changes. Job cuts in traditional retailing have risen sharply this year, with hundreds of chains and nine us chains filing for bankruptcy so far in 2017.

Most of the people who lost their jobs were entry-level workers with low skills, while retailers emphasized the e-commerce aspect of their business, hiring higher-skilled jobs such as logistics and warehousing. The retail industry has so far failed to complete the task, given that some industries are investing in new age skills retraining employees.

That’s not good news for laid-off workers, friedman said. “It’s a very bleak picture, I’m sorry to say,” he said.

The article continues after sponsorship.

For most retailers, employees and training are generally not a priority, he says, making his business difficult.

Friedman compared retail to other technology-driven companies. “it’s like having a movie processing shop or travel agency, it’s tough,” he says.

Retailers struggle to adapt to changing consumer habits.


Retailers struggle to adapt to changing consumer habits.

With the need for more technical knowledge, all industries continue to strive to maintain the rapid development of the staff. For example, manufacturing requires more advanced computing skills on production lines, so workers must be trained.

The retail sector is becoming more diverse, with experts calling it a “full channel”, meaning that most retailers mix online and traditional stores. Recruitment is the most needed job in e-commerce: warehousing, logistics and technology.

The national retail federation says it has started training and certification programs for employees in order to better provide these new jobs.

Maureen conway is skeptical. Conway, executive director of the aspen institute’s economic opportunity program, said the industry supported similar certification programs more than a decade ago.

“Unfortunately, retailers don’t seem to see anyone with this certificate, and some people haven’t,” she said.

Retail retraining faces many challenges.

‘many retail workers simply don’t want to stay in the industry,’ says frida molina, deputy director of the social research organization MDRC.

Doubt exists, and sears struggles to change again.


Doubt exists, and sears struggles to change again.

“Given the negative reputation in retailing is more and more low, and many of those at lower levels don’t have the resources to invest time and energy and potentially lost wages, the fact that it is hard to put to them. “Training,” she says.

Catherine shaw, a professor at Stanford university’s business school, says that the way in which manufacturing is transformed is something retailers can’t do. “These [manufacturing workers] who need to be retrained have a high average wage and a skilled workforce.” As a result, she says, they need to retrain and restructure complex jobs, which have a strong economic incentive for them.

Retail workers, by contrast, tend to be young, and because pay is relatively low, they do not plan to struggle in retail.

“They weren’t very skilled from the start, and they weren’t very interested in the industry,” she said.

When factories closed, Mr. Shaw said, their workers lived in a community, making it easier for them to retrain. Retail workers, by contrast, tend to be geographically dispersed, making it difficult for them to target such schemes.

Wal-mart realized that it had a labor challenge. Two years ago, the retailer opened a college that trains about 250, 000 employees a year, and their skills are higher.

The demographic transition has contributed to the change in retailing.


The demographic transition has contributed to the change in retailing.

Kathleen McLaughlin, wal-mart’s chief sustainability officer, says training for in-store and online operations has paid off in higher comparable store sales and better customer service scores.

“It’s very economical for retailers to invest in employees at all levels,” she said.

Mr. McLaughlin says wal-mart is trying to develop industry-wide training standards with other big retailers.

“Retailers do need to look at their employees, create exciting way for them, and provide skills, they need to succeed in today’s work not only, and with the continuous development of the work,” she said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here