Retail Hiring Trends

If you ask iCIMS retail hiring is cautious at best.

This is according to a new report from the company reveals potential effect of waning in-store shopping demand on the retail sector, creating a competitive market for retail job seekers. The data showed a downturn in hiring and job openings in the retail sector.

“The overall labor market is finally starting to cool down this summer, and we’re seeing an interesting downturn for the retail sector in a time where seasonal hiring typically ramps up,” said Rhea Moss, global head of workforce and customer insights, iCIMS. “By providing exclusive labor market data, we’re helping retailers to get ahead of the curve this upcoming shopping season and find the right candidates to fill their decreased, yet critical roles.”

Rhea Moss

 Behind the Numbers

  • With most Americans spending less than they did one year ago, retailers are pulling back on job openings and hires. Compared to June 2022, job opening and hiring activity are down 14% and 27%. Applications, on the other hand, are up 34%.
  • With more candidates competing for fewer roles, applicants per opening (APO) for retail roles rose 41% in the last year. At 24 job seekers per open role, this is just two applicants shorter than the overall labor market average (26).
  • Despite pulling back on hiring, retailers are hiring slightly faster than the overall labor market. Time to fill (TTF) for retail roles clocked in at a little over five weeks (or 37 days), two days faster than the overall labor market average and the same as retail TTF last year.
  • When it comes to finding a job in retail, retail applicants show a strong preference for Indeed (61%) above other popular job boards. Google and LinkedIn also served as the job board of choice for 19% and 13% of retail applicants.
  • While both sides of the hiring equation have been in a holding pattern since the start of 2023, the labor market showed signs of cooling last month as employers slowed down hiring, which was still up 9% from the start of last year vs. 20% in May.
  • As employers pulled back, application volume increased for the second month in a row, up 44% from January 2022. With unemployment remaining historically low, this could be a sign of gainfully employed workers looking for their next move.

To get in front of on-the-go candidates and avoid getting caught short-handed, retailers need the right hiring tools that can meet the changing demand for in-store shopping. Retail customers are responding to this agile environment with solutions like text and video to prioritize the candidate experience and accelerate hiring. According to the report, a whopping 70% of applicants for retail roles used a mobile device to apply, compared to a little over half of overall applicants in June 2023.

Download the July Insights Report for a deeper look into the retail sector and the state of the labor market, helping to make more informed hiring decisions and drive business forward.

Retail Hiring Tips

Here’s 5 practical tips to improve your retail hiring strategies:

  1. Hire for attitude, train for skill. This means that you should focus on hiring people who have the right attitude and personality for retail, such as being friendly, helpful, and customer-oriented. You can train these people on the specific skills they need to do the job.
  2. Define your hiring goals. What are you looking for in a retail employee? Do you need someone who is outgoing and can generate sales, or do you need someone who is more detail-oriented and can manage inventory? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can create a job description that will attract the right candidates.
  3. Use your job description as a marketing tool. Your job description is not just a way to describe the job, it’s also a way to market your company to potential employees. Make sure your job description is clear, concise, and highlights the benefits of working for your company.
  4. Target your recruiting efforts. Don’t just post your job description on every job board. Instead, target your recruiting efforts to the specific people you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for students, you could post your job description on college campuses or social media.
  5. Use technology to your advantage. There are a number of technology tools that can help you improve your retail hiring strategies. For example, you can use applicant tracking systems to manage your job postings and applications, and you can use video interviewing to get a better sense of a candidate’s personality. Add texting to your communication with candidates also.

Following these tips can help you improve your retail hiring strategies and find the right employees for your business.

Subscribe to Recruiting Headlines

* indicates required


»Employer Branding w/The Muse

»Diversity and Inclusion Job Board

»Free Rejection Email Templates

»RecTech PR Newswire

»HR Podcast Directory

»Recruiting Newsletters

»HR Tech News

»HR Freelancers

»Jobs with Relocation Assistance

»Diversity Hiring News

»Recruiter Ebooks