How retail employers can support their workforce as the cost of living crisis grows

How retail employers can support their workforce as the cost of living crisis grows

It’s hard to go a day at the moment without reading about a new development in the cost of living crisis in the UK. After an already challenging few years due to the pandemic, this latest crisis is shifting employee sentiment, and retailers face new challenges around how to best recruit, engage and retain their people amid this fiscal uncertainty.

In our latest whitepaper, we’ve sought to better understand the issues retail employees face and what retailers can do to help better support them. Here are some of the main findings:


Retail employees are feeling the pinch

Conversations are being held across industries about whether or not the current monthly pay model is outdated, and our research reflects a greater desire among retail employees for more flexible pay models. In fact, some 62% of retail employees say they would make use of earned wage access (where employees can access wages they’ve earned ahead of pay day) if it was available to them.

Likewise, the main work-related expenses contributing to their stress are their commuting cost (32%), unreliable shift patterns creating inconsistent salaries (25%) and poor communication from employers around shift patterns and holiday allowance (25%).

Concerningly, retailers also aren’t happy with current payroll measures, with only 44% saying they always pay staff correctly, and only 77% saying they always pay staff on time. Fortunately, almost all (97%) of retailers plan to increase their employees’ base salary this year, in line with the rising cost of living.

While this latter point is encouraging to see, the challenges also reflect a need for retail employers to make more use of workforce management solutions that can help them to better manage payroll or provide earned wage access.

b3lineicon|b3icon-search-user||Search User

Talent shortages remain an issue

The pandemic created big shifts in the retail workforce, with many people leaving the industry and a new wave of people entering it too, creating ambiguity and hiring shortages for retailers. This remains a problem, with our research showing 99% of retailers are worried about talent shortages, up from 94% in September 2021.

This statistic further emphasises the need for retail employers to listen to and implement ways of working that will help existing staff feel engaged, heard, and happy. In our latest whitepaper, we’ve pinpointed some key improvement areas in communication and shift scheduling in particular, alongside payroll, and have suggested three main takeaways for retailers:

  1. How can we use technology to better improve shift scheduling, communication, and talent attraction and retention?
  2. How can we continue to hire and support a diverse workforce, and ensure our workplace technology caters to all ages and demographics?
  3. How can earned wage access solutions provide more financial control and better financial literacy to your workforce?
To see more data and insights, read our Cost of living: Supporting your retail workforce as the crisis deepens whitepaper now. Overall, workforce management technology can help resolve some of these questions, and Fourth can provide expertise, insight and solutions to assist you with navigating the challenges ahead and help you to thrive in the next year. Get in touch today if you’re looking for better workforce management solutions.

Your subscription has been confirmed and you've been added to our newsletter list.

Overlooking modern HR technologies can seriously impact retail businesses
Christmas 2022: Is the ‘Golden Quarter’ at risk of losing its shine?
The Hospitality Workforce Report – Confronting the cost-of-living crisis

Recent Posts

NEW Fourth eClock
An accurate, affordable, reliable time & attendance app
Discover more