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Solving the Retail Industry’s Greatest Staffing Challenges

$792 billion in annual spend. 44 million people picking up gigs. 29% of US workers taking part. That is the estimated size of the gig economy, according to Staffing Industry Analysts.Why are so many companies adopting the on-demand workforce model? It solves modern staffing challenges across different industries.

The benefits are perhaps most obvious in the retail vertical, where gig workers help companies address three major staffing challenges:

1) Seasonality

With the holiday season upon us, retailers (and shipping companies) are bringing on gig workers in droves. The largest retailers alone are expected to hire almost 750,000 temporary workers to help meeting the holiday shopping demand. But with peaks like these there are also valleys - utilizing an on-demand workforce allows retailers to staff up or down as needed, on a moment’s notice.

2) High turnover

Some estimates put the employee turnover rate for the retail industry as high as 67%. Working in a customer service-driven environment can be taxing, as can the hours. Whether an employee is brand new or in a management position, most are expected to work evenings and weekends regularly. The changing schedule and relatively low starting pay can be deterrents. On-demand workers can help retailers fill in the gaps left by departing employees.

3) Consumer trend dependency

Retailers are at the mercy of consumers, who are at the mercy of the economy. Consumer buying habits vary greatly and can be difficult to predict. Sales numbers look very different during an economic recession, for example, where consumers might spend more on credit or only during clearance events. Or, some stores might be challenged to properly staff their stores and warehouses based on changing in-person vs. online purchases. On-demand staffing allows retailers to react to these trends.


We hope you enjoyed our peek into the retail industry throughout October. If you missed the other posts in this series, you can find them here:

Strategic Holiday Hiring

Three Untraditional Seasonal Retail Jobs

A News Round-Up of 2016 Holiday Season Hiring Predictions

October 31, 2016 | Tricia Cagua