Benefits more important than ever to retail job seekers

A new report sheds light on how retailers can fill open positions in today’s tight labor market.

More than half (52% ) of all retail candidates say that benefits are one of the top two factors when making career decisions, up 5% from the last year, according to a study from ManpowerGroup Solutions and the Retail Industry Leaders Association that was revealed at Groceryshop 2018 in Las Vegas. Benefits are now ranked second behind compensation and tied with type of work.

Interest in benefits is especially high among candidates for in-store positions (56%) and warehouse and distribution positions (60%). Paid health insurance is the leading benefit preferred by all retail candidates and is desired by 65% of retail candidates versus 56% of U.S. candidates across all industries. Financial education and saving plan opportunities ranked second (37%), followed by food or lunch onsite (27%) paid maternity leave (25%) and continuing education (23%).

The report, “What Retail Employers Need to Know about Candidate Preferences,” also revealed that a retailer’s brand or reputation is more important than ever among retail job applicants. One in five (20%) retail candidates say an employer’s brand or reputation ranks among their top three career decisions criteria, up 7% from last year. Though employer brand still ranks behind factors such as compensation, type of work, schedule flexibility and benefits, the brand/reputation of the company is the fastest-growing factor in career decisions among retail job seekers.

In another finding, virtually all types of retail candidates desire more flexibility. Forty-two percent of e-commerce workers prefer full-time work from home. Twenty-two percent of warehouse and distribution workers want choice and control in their work shifts, and 30% of corporate candidates want flexible arrival and departure times – nearly twice that of candidates from all industries.

"Retail job seekers are looking to fit a job into their lives and not their lives into their job," said Melissa Hassett, VP of client delivery at ManpowerGroup Solutions. "Sales representatives are in the top five hardest roles to fill in the U.S..  That means that in this competitive labor market, employers should understand that candidates are consumers too and need to work hard to attract people using a strong employee value proposition. What's bringing retail workers into the role is the need for flexibility, an attractive benefits package and opportunities to upskill and earn more. "

The report, What Retail Employers Need to Know about Candidate Preferences, provides retail insights and practical tips on how to attract and retain workers. ManpowerGroup Solutions surveyed nearly 2,500 retail workers across the U.S. to understand how they want to work.  For more, click here.