Industry in Focus: Retail in Australia


A talent crisis in retail

In addition to lockdowns, surging inflation, wavering consumer confidence and global supply chain issues resulting in empty store shelves, retailers have also faced significant challenges relating to human resources – not just in terms of managing the health and wellbeing of staff, but also the fundamentals of trying to retain employees and fill an estimated one million retail jobs nationwide.

With talent scarce, retailers have had to broaden their talent pools, develop talent from within, focus on greater employee flexibility, and prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their hiring practices.

Employee turnover and retention
Some 50% of all retail workers are part-time or casual. Retailers who know the makeup of their workforce can take steps to provide them with what they need, with the hope of boosting engagement and retention. This extends to benefits, professional development, and flexibility around rosters and schedules.

Retailers are also prioritising employee health and wellbeing. Research shows that one in five retail employees find their jobs ‘highly stressful’. Anecdotal evidence points towards the general public being the major source of stress, but it’s also generated by changeable, unpredictable rosters.

The role of technology

The challenges facing retailers are multi-faceted and complex. There are no easy solutions. Workforce management software can at least ease some of the people management challenges being faced. From optimising rostering and scheduling to award interpretation and better decision-making capabilities thanks to in-depth workforce analytics, technology can ease the burden on overstretched managers and improve the employee experience for retail workers.

For further insights and tips on how to navigate through the people-related challenges facing the retail sector in Australia, complete the form to download our fact sheet.