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Retail Recruiting: Jobs Have DOUBLED, but Where’s the Talent?

Where's the retail talent?Black Friday may seem like a distant memory — even though it was less than three weeks ago — but guess what retailers are still doing? Adding more jobs!

Take a look at the graph below, from CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand Portal, and you’ll notice that the number of job postings for retail salespeople have doubled since the summer.

Job postings for retail salespeople have doubled since the summer.

Typically retail recruiting tends to somewhat seasonal, which means it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to see more jobs being added around the holiday season. However, the recent growth spurt in job postings can be attributed to more than just your typical seasonal upsurge.

The number of job postings in October 2013 was almost double that of the same month last year, which indicates an increased demand for retail salespeople.

Want to get real-time access to labor market trends? Click here to learn about CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand Portal.

While that may sound like reason to rejoice, data shows that the number of people actively looking for retail sales jobs dropped 40 percent since October 2013.

Take a look at the graph below, from CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand Portal, showing a lot more jobs chasing a lot fewer workers, which makes it harder to hire.

It's harder to hire in retail.

The compensation conversation

Let’s think about that in terms of compensation. When you have more open jobs and fewer workers, you’re likely to see an increase in compensation — and it’s no different in this case.

Data from CareerBuilder’s Compensation Portal shows that over the last two years, the median compensation for a retail salesperson was $29,750.

However, over the past six months — the period during which the number of retail job openings doubled — the median compensation has jumped 7 percent to $32,000.

So, if you’re having a hard time recruiting retail salespeople, you ought to consider increasing your compensation offer. Why? Just look at the numbers: My work with Ronald Wolthoff, a colleague, has shown that a 10 percent increase in compensation is associated with a 7 percent increase in the number of applicants.

So, at a time when retailers are increasing their job openings en masse, make sure you’re prepared to use compensation as a weapon in this particular war for talent.

Need to access the most fresh and accurate compensation data? You’ll want to learn about CareerBuilder’s Compensation Portal.

Ioana Marinescu

About Ioana Marinescu

Ioana Marinescu is an assistant professor in economics at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on understanding labor markets. She has been collaborating on data and research projects with CareerBuilder and she is especially interested in how to get the right people to work in the right jobs. You can follow her on twitter @mioana and check out her research on her website, marinescu.eu.
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