Big changes for retail workers in 2014

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Male Sales Assistant At Checkout Of Clothing Store With CustomersAs the weather warms and 2014 progresses, more workers in retail are considering their options and looking for new employers, finds a survey from CareerBuilder and WorkInRetail.com — its employment site for retail professionals. And in an industry that employs more than 15 million people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail workers have plenty of room to find the work environment and role that’s right for them.

“When workers are confident they can find a better job elsewhere, it’s a sign the labor market is improving. As a result, employers must double-down on efforts to retain top talent,” says Rob Morris, director of WorkInRetail.com.

Read on to learn what qualities make a retail job worth staying in and just how many workers are planning to move to greener pastures.

Time for a change
While 21 percent of workers in all industries plan to change jobs in 2014, even more retail workers are looking for new work — 24 percent of full-time retail employees shared their plans to find a new role this year. That’s up from 20 percent in 2013.

And though the economy continues to improve and more jobs become available, that may not be the biggest factor in why retail workers are interesting in switching roles. The survey found that 51 percent of retail workers are satisfied with their jobs, a number that’s down from 60 percent 2013.

More directly, of those surveyed, 22 percent are dissatisfied, up from 17 percent last year.

In order to change this and retain top talent, employers need to make changes of their own. “Managers should listen carefully to employee feedback, implement incentive rewards and consistently recognize strong performance,” Morris says. “Reducing turnover builds cohesive teams that lead to positive customer service results and higher sales.”

Reasons to stay
Even though working in retail comes with its own set of very unique challenges, three out of four workers (76 percent) have no intention of leaving their current job in 2014. Among their top reasons to stay, workers noted:

  • “I like the people I work with.” – 59 percent
  • “I have a good work/life balance.” – 49 percent
  • “I have good benefits.” – 43 percent
  • “I have a quick commute.” – 40 percent
  • “I have a good boss who watches out for me.” – 34 percent
  • “There still is a lot of uncertainty in the job market.” – 31 percent
  • “I make a good salary” – 29 percent
  • “I have a flexible schedule or can telecommute” – 25 percent

Finding the right role
For those looking to make some kind of change in 2014, whether it’s a new role, employer or set of responsibilities, consider the skills you’ve gained from working in retail and the opportunities that opens up for you. The BLS notes, “Retail sales workers typically have opportunities to advance to managerial positions. Some employers want candidates for managerial positions to have a college degree.

“As sales workers gain experience and seniority, they often move into positions that have greater responsibility and may be given their choice of departments in which to work. This opportunity often means moving to positions with higher potential earnings and commissions. The highest earnings potential usually lies in selling ‘big-ticket’ items — such as cars, jewelry, furniture and electronics. These positions often require workers with extensive knowledge of the product and an excellent talent for persuasion.”

Within one of the largest industries, there’s certainly room for employees to find the job that’s right for them.

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