Retail’s Loss, Your Company’s Gain

Job cuts in the retail sector currently exceed those in any other industry.

According to research conducted by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, no other industry even comes close. January through April, retailers announced 50,133 jobs cuts, while the next closest industry, health care/products announced 11,269 layoffs.
“Although restructuring in the retail sector continues to shed jobs, we aren’t seeing the wide scale layoffs in other sectors, like energy or tech,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, when releasing the numbers.

Retail Job Cuts Common

Retail downsizing is nothing new. During the same period last year, retail lost 36,977 jobs. And of course retail was one of the sectors hit hardest during the Great Recession; along with automotive, financial services, and other industries, retail contributed to a total loss of 8.7 million jobs.
During the recession, retail job cuts were the result of the overall economy. Now, changes in consumer shopping habits, aggressive expansion on the part of retailers, and other factors are to blame.
Venerable retailers are among those struggling.
 Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.©

Layoffs Create Candidates

Yet, a gloomy outlook for retailers presents a silver lining for companies in other sectors that are hiring.
Retail job cuts, which involve locations coast to coast, create job seekers—and potential candidates for your company’s open positions.
Think retail employees aren’t a fit for your organization?

More Than Cashiers

Retail encompasses a wide range of positions, and includes people with a variety of skill sets.
When a large store closes, people with experience in these areas become available:

  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Human resources
  • General management
  • Inventory control
  • Security and loss prevention
  • Facilities management
  • Building services
  • Maintenance

In addition, when retail job cuts are announced, corporate positions may be on the chopping block, as is the situation at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Keeping an Eye on Retail

Outplacements in general can be a great source of candidates, but skills aren’t always transferable from industry to industry. In retail, however, skills tend to be applicable to other industries.
As qualified candidates become increasingly difficult to find, companies must rely on a variety of tactics to fill open positions. Following news about layoffs in the retail sector will alert you to people who may be a fit for your company, regardless of your industry.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.