US Retail Workers Are Fed Up and Quitting at Record Rates

To be a US retail worker in 2023 means fielding an onslaught of growing American anxieties about everything from high prices to politics. Increasingly, some workers say the job isn’t worth the wages.

Low pay, erratic schedules and monotonous tasks have long been a challenge for the nearly 8 million Americans working in retail, but the pandemic years have added a host of taxing new duties. Employees must cope with an uptick in shoplifting and customer orneriness. They manage online orders and run up and down the aisles to unlock items as quotidian as toothpaste.

A 2022 McKinsey study found that the quit rate for retail workers is more than 70 percent higher than in other US industries. And the Covid years made the problem worse. Before 2020, turnover for part-time retail employees — who make up the bulk of the in-store workforce — hovered around 75 percent, according to data from Korn Ferry. Since then, it’s shot up to 95 percent and hasn’t budged, which has at times, led to understaffed stores.

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