The labor market in the United States is undergoing a revolution, and grocery stores, restaurants, and fuel retailers face challenges like never before to meet staffing needs. How can brick and mortar businesses adapt to this new normal? Understanding the current labor market provides clues to addressing its recent volatility.
The labor market is fraught with difficulties, such as a lack of applicants for front-line positions and rising costs of attracting and retaining good employees. The numbers speak for themselves:
The number of job openings increased to 11.0 million on the last business day of October.
In a year of record quits and increasing job openings, business owners must adapt quickly to meet their staffing needs.
The National Association of Business Economics (NABE) recently conducted a labor survey, and the results were compelling. According to the study, 47% of business respondents were experiencing a labor shortage, up from 37% in Q2. Analysts believe workers are leaving their jobs due to low pay, vaccine and mask mandates, working conditions, and changes to more lucrative and stable careers.
FoodandWine.com cited the many reasons restaurant workers aren't returning. They noted that the job search website Joblist conducted its own poll. In July, they reported that 38% of surveyed restaurant workers said they didn't want to work in an industry that fired them.
And on December 15, CNN Business published new labor-market data. "According to Goldman Sachs researchers, nearly 70% of the 5 million people who left the labor force during the pandemic are older than 55, and many of them aren't looking to return."
Currently, approximately 50% of front-line employees—mainly from Generation Z—want to leave their current jobs, primarily due to burnout, a lack of management, and a lack of peer appreciation. Almost half of front-line employees reported they plan to leave their current jobs, citing boredom, tedious daily work, and low pay. Conditions are deplorable for many retail and restaurant employees.
USChamber.com explains it in detail. Raising wages is only the first step in attracting and retaining employees. What employees truly desire is flexible scheduling and opportunities for professional development and advancement. They also want to quickly find and apply for jobs via text or online channels. Some employers even provide benefits such as tuition reimbursement, generous company discounts, and other perks.
Businesses must find new ways to generate profits, manage spending, and optimize operations to offset rising employee costs. Here are a few strategies:
In this new competitive landscape, companies are not just competing for customers. They’re competing for employees to help maintain and grow their businesses. In the meantime, paying attention to optimizing operations and creating new revenue streams should be top of mind.
How grocery retailers can thrive amid economic uncertainties with personalization
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