U.S. Retail Candidate Preferences

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Inside the Heads of Job Seekers

It does not take an online retailer’s drone to deliver the message that the retail industry is undergoing seismic shifts in how people shop for and purchase products. Most retail employers are well aware that omnichannel retailing is quickly becoming the norm.

During the first six months of 2017, the growth of online retailing has been blamed for more than 5,300 store closures in the U.S., triple the rate for the same period last year. Many cash-strapped retailers are looking to the holiday season to offset lagging revenues. As a result, seasonal retail hiring has never been more important.

In the ManpowerGroup 2016-17 U.S. Talent Shortage Survey, sales representatives (including retail salespeople) ranked third in the United States among the top 10 hardest jobs to fill. They also ranked third globally as the most challenging positions to hire. Moreover, they have appeared on the top 10 list for 11 consecutive years.

For decades, retailers have focused their energies on building brands that engage consumers. Now, they must shift their thinking to building employer brands. If the product bundle was the topic of retailing and marketing books in the past few decades, today’s management books should focus on the job bundle necessary to recruit top talent to the retail floor, warehouse and managers’ office. Just as products expand beyond traditional definitions of widgets for a price to include lifestyle branding and reputational association, jobs should be more than a job description and hourly wage. Now, jobs include all aspects of employer brand, such as a company’s social vision, philosophy on work-life balance and willingness to be a disruptive force for change.

To better understand how employers can leverage global candidate preferences and perceptions, ManpowerGroup Solutions, the world’s largest Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider, went directly to the source: candidates. In the Global Candidate Preferences Survey, nearly 14,000 individuals currently in the workforce between the ages of 18 and 65 shared what matters to them in the job search process. The survey was fielded in 19 influential countries around the world during the fourth quarter of 2016. In the United States, ManpowerGroup Solutions surveyed 1,384 candidates and special emphasis was given to the fastest growing industries: retail, healthcare, IT and financial services.

The third in a series exploring U.S. candidate preferences by industry, this report provides new insight into the successful recruitment and hiring of retail candidates. The results reveal what is important to retail candidates, how process may cause them to self-select out of the pipeline and what employers can do to ensure the best prospects get to and through the application process.

Download the Whitepaper, Infographic or view the Microsite for more information.

As the nation’s largest private sector employer, retailers deeply understand and take pride in the space they hold in the marketplace for many job seekers. Whether an individual is looking for a first job, a second chance in the workforce or a highly skilled profession within a global supply chain, retailers provide opportunities for a wide range of career paths.

The unique needs of retail job seekers combined with an increasingly competitive labor market make “Inside the Heads of Job Seekers: U.S. Retail Candidate Preferences” a valuable tool for retail employers seeking top talent. This independent workforce study is also a mustread for policymakers grappling with state and local workforce rules and regulations. Before considering new laws, lawmakers should consider what retail employees value in their employment.

“Inside the Heads of Job Seekers: U.S. Retail Candidate Preferences” does an effective job detailing the desires of retail job seekers; specifically, that most retail job seekers prioritize flexibility and innovative work arrangements. As the marketplace for workers continues to evolve in a tech-forward manner, the report highlights how retailers can market job positions and optimize online recruitment processes to attract and retain the top job seekers.

As the trade association representing the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies, RILA and our Human Resources Leaders Council would like to thank ManpowerGroup Solutions for delivering this thought-provoking research, which will help retailers and policymakers understand and optimize the needs of a modern workforce.