Online shopping pushes retailers to flex workforce

This week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article, “Amazon vs. Walmart: Online shopping pushes retailers to look for ways to flex their workforce.” The piece focuses on the current workforce challenges facing the retail industry and what the nation’s largest employing sector is doing to attract and maintain talent in an increasingly competitive labor market. 

The article also referenced a study RILA released with ManpowerGroup Solutions in October, which provides retail employers insights and practical tips on how to attract and retain workers by offering NextGen flexible work practices and new ways to appeal to candidates. The independent research found that U.S. retail job candidates value shorter work weeks and flexible sift patterns over compensations and benefits. 

Highlights from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article: 

“Online shopping has pressured retailers to change their relationship with their employees to survive. With unemployment falling and the retail workforce in high demand, companies have voluntarily raised their minimum wages and started offering better benefits to lure and retain workers.” 

“One way to lure workers is to offer a clearer path within one company. Last year, Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer with 1.2 million workers, rolled out a job training initiative on a scale not seen in recent memory.” 

“Employees said the changes help give more people training and offer a clear career path within the company.” 

“A study released in October found many retailers are facing a talent shortage, as workers want shorter workweeks and flexible shifts about twice as much as in any other industry. 

In some cases, workers are heading to the gig economy, as online platforms like Uber and TaskRabbit provide an opportunity to earn supplemental income precisely when individual workers want to work, said Evan Armstrong, vice president of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a Virginia-based trade group that released the study.  

Meanwhile, federal labor regulations restrict retailers from using such an app or on-demand scheduling system, Mr. Armstrong said, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.” 

Learn more and access the full RILA, ManpowerGroup report here


RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad. 

Stay in the know

Subscribe to our newsletter