Study reveals why retail employees don’t stay on the job very long

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Staffing isues remain a major concern for business owners.
Schedule flexibility is a critical issue for both employees and managers.

Sixty-two percent  of hourly employees plan to leave in the next 12 months, with 64% planning to leave their current industry altogether. 

That’s according to a report by workforce management platform Legion Technologies, which surveyed more than 1,500 hourly employees and 600 managers. The top factors that make hourly jobs undesirable are: not enough benefits (48%), undesirable working conditions (45%) and not enough schedule flexibility 44%

Legion’s  annual “State of the Hourly Workforce Report”  found that schedule flexibility has become a critical issue for both employees and managers – even more so than competitive pay – with 96% of hourly employees saying it is the number-one benefit motivating them to take a new job.   48% of managers  stated that “not providing the schedule flexibility employees want” was the most challenging part of retaining hourly employees in the past six months, as opposed to 44% who said not offering competitive pay. 

The survey also identified pay flexibility as a key motivator for hourly employees: 43% of hourly workers stated they would consider a new job if it meant they had early wage access (EWA).

In addition, 62% of hourly employees also stated they prefer to be paid every week. The demand for the ability to get paid early has grown twenty times during the past three years, a sign that instant pay is becoming a must-have benefit, according to Legion.

Additional findings from the survey are below.

•When asked what type of scheduling flexibility was most important, employees rated the ability to choose the number of hours they want to work per week (42%) the highest, followed by more scheduling options (30%) and the ability to seamlessly pick up extra shifts (28%).

78% of hourly employees said their work environment has been impacted by economic uncertainty 

•Of the 20% of hourly employees who have more than one job, 63% say it’s because they don’t make enough money at one job to cover rent and food.

Survey Manager Findings

According to the 628 managers surveyed, the most difficult part of managing hourly employee schedules is matching employee preferences and availability with the needs of the business. 

Further complicating this challenge is the fact that too many companies rely on outdated scheduling methods: 20% of managers still use paper-based processes to create schedules and 27% rely on Google Docs or similar software, both of which are time-consuming and prone to error. This underscores a serious need for automated scheduling, according to Legion.

Additional manager findings are below.

•If employers were able to remove administrative burdens, managers would spend more time coaching and developing their teams (62%) and interacting with customers (30%).

•52% of managers in the hospitality industry said they had trouble finding candidates who weren’t under-qualified. Meanwhile, in the retail sector, nearly 30% of managers reported an influx of overqualified candidates. 

•28% of managers said managing call-outs and no-shows is the most time-consuming part of managing employee schedules.

•The top two things managers said employers could do to help them were to provide tools to make it easier to communicate with their teams and reduce time on administrative tasks, such as creating schedules. 

“Hourly employees form the backbone of the American workforce, and when our data shows that nearly two-thirds of them plan to quit their jobs in the next year, it’s clear that employers cannot afford to neglect their employees’ needs around flexibility and pay,” said Sanish Mondkar, CEO and founder of Legion Technologies. “As the labor shortage continues, companies will need to evaluate how outdated labor processes and technology may be holding them back from giving their employees the experience they deserve. If they have not already, now is the time to embrace intelligent automation and optimize their labor strategy to enable that flexibility workers demand.”