Some good news for retailers in Korn Ferry turnover survey

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Some good news for retailers in Korn Ferry turnover survey

By Marianne Wilson - 11/25/2019
employee helping customer

Retail employees are staying put longer.

Part-time hourly store employees have the highest turnover rate, with 76% average turnover in 2019, according to a new survey by Korn Ferry. The good news is that the metric is down from an average turnover of 81% in 2018. Also, less than a quarter (24%) of respondents say they have seen an increase in employee turnover since the beginning of 2019, down from 29% in 2018.

“With increases in minimum wage and start rates at many retailers, workers are hard-pressed to find new jobs that pay more than what they are already receiving,” said Craig Rowley, senior partner, retail and consumer, Korn Ferry. “In addition, increased store closings and automation, such as self-serve checkout, are decreasing the number of workers needed. As many employees worry about economic uncertainty and decreasing job opportunities, they are choosing to stay where they are.”

Corporate positions saw the lowest turnover rates in the industry in 2019 (17%), which is about the same as it was in 2018.

Respondents cited “better opportunities/promotions” as the No. 1 reason for departures in the retail industry, followed by more money and a desire for a more predictable schedule.

When asked what they will be doing to curb turnover moving forward, retailers cite “better communicating the company’s employee value proposition,” “career pathing” and “changes to compensation plans” as the top focus areas.

“While it is decreasing, employee turnover is still a very real issue for retailers,” said Rowley. “To retain top employees, employers need to lay out clear career paths, offer training, pay competitive wages and provide predictability in work schedules. It’s critical that employees feel nurtured and part of the organization instead of just having a job.”

The survey included responses from HR and compensation professionals at 72 major retail organizations. 

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