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Why does retail have such a high employee turnover rate?

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Over a quarter of employees working in the retail sector are considering a job change or have changed jobs in the past 12 months as a result of a poor working environment, new research has revealed.

A new survey conducted by recruitment firm RHR highlights the struggle retailers face to attract and retain talent on the shop floor, especially with its reputation as having one of the highest employee turnover rates of all industries in the UK.

Twenty-six per cent of retail workers pointed to the environment as the reasoning behind their desire to change jobs, while 42 per cent said they have been in their job for less than a year. 

The research also found that although salary remains a key consideration for employees, other elements around management and recognition were almost as important.

Eighteen per cent said they left their most recent job as they didn’t think a promotion would happen, while 12 per cent said they left as a result of seeking a better salary. 

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Meanwhile, just one per cent cited their company’s benefit package as the reason for changing jobs.

In terms of job longevity, only 12 per cent of respondents said they have been in the same retail job for five to nine years and five per cent said they have been in the same job for a decade or more. 

Thirty per cent of retail workers also believe that despite being happy in their current role, they should stay in a job for no more than two years in order to progress their career, compared to 27 per cent who said no more than three years and 17 per cent who believe they should stay in their current role for no more than four years.

“People stay with companies that demonstrate value and care for their employees. Therefore, employers must start to see the value in nurturing their own talent, particularly when times are uncertain,” RHR director Peter Burgess said.

“This will unearth much-needed skills and agility. Training and development can become critical in ensuring that valued members of staff remain contented. 

“In today’s increasingly challenging business world, companies across all industries and sectors have a choice of recruiting or nurturing their own talent. 

“The latter, whilst perhaps more complex, will bring rewards in abundance to the individual and the business.” 

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Published on Wednesday 12 October by Elias Jahshan

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