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Talent Pressures and the Aging Workforce: Retail Trade Sector

by Stephen Sweet and Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes with Elyssa Besen, Shoghik Hovhannisyan, and Farooq Pasha

fewer career development opportunities bode poorly for us retail sector

June 2010—Employers in the US retail trade appear to be less invested in developing talent than employers in other sectors, according to a new report by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College.

Analysis of retail sector employer responses indicate that:

  • Only one in three employees (36%) in the retail trade sector have received formal training from their employers;
  • Fewer than one in four retail trade workers (22%) are engaged in decision-making task forces; and
  • Slightly greater than one in four workers (27%) are involved in self-managed teams.

These rates are considerably lower in comparison to the talent management practices in other sectors.

Even though the percentage of workers in the retail sector aged 55-64 increased significantly from 2000-2007, the reported trends could potentially hinder retail employers from attracting and retaining skilled older workers in the future.

Unfortunately, employers in the retail sector may not be prepared to know how many workers they could be losing with the impending Boomer retirement—evidence also indicates that a lower percentage of retail organizations have assessed the demographic make-up of their workforces (18.4%) or assessed projected retirement rates (14.5%) to a moderate/great extent compared to employers in other industries (33.3% and 24.7%, respectively).

Additional findings include:

  • Within the retail trade sector, younger and middle-aged employees put significantly more importance on having a high paying job compared with older employees.
  • Women in the retail trade sector are more likely to value a job that has flexible hours compared to men.
  • Women in the retail trade sector also want to have a job that contributes to society.

» Read more findings in Talent Pressures and the Aging Workforce: Retail Trade Sector

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