Bridging the Talent Gap Retail Sector Employer and Employee Insights

Read the full employer report here  | Read the full employee report here | Access the powerpoint here | Access the Retail Sector Dashboard here

Key Takeaway #1

Hiring practices and labor pool skill deficiencies have created substantial problems for retail sector employers

“We have to be creative in how we recruit. As you all know, the war on talent is out there.”
Claudia
Retail Director | Cleveland, Ohio
“St. Louis’s high number of respondents [to the survey] demonstrates how critical workforce and talent gaps are to area employers.”
Greg
Chamber of Commerce Vice President | St. Louis, Missouri

Key Takeaway #2

Retail sector employers recognize that they can more readily access individuals with the applied work skills they desire when they consider people with postsecondary degrees

“This is a supply issue. We need more people to come to the door of educational institutions.”
Tom
Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive | St. Louis, Missouri
“I think that the biggest thing with going back [to college] this term is the ability to relate . . . to the material and bring it to fruition with [my supervisor] and the team. I’m leading projects that I haven’t before with my Six Sigma Certification that I’ll be earning through the university. So I’m able to do those things that I wouldn’t normally be able to.”
Melanie
Retail Recruiter and Student | Cleveland, Ohio

Key Takeaway #3

The straightforward path for retail sector employers to access people with postsecondary degrees—through partnerships with local colleges and universities—is underutilized but highly desired

“The St. Louis region needs more in-depth and meaningful collaboration between higher education institutions and businesses. Not just for the benefit of our economy, but also for our residents. We want students to know where the high-wage jobs are, what kind of industries are hiring, and how our local colleges, universities, and training programs can get them there. If we focus on the data and develop more effective partnerships between businesses and education, we as a region can be responsive and even proactive in addressing workforce gaps.”
Tom
Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive | St. Louis, Missouri
“Up until this year, we didn’t have a robust partnership with the local colleges, so we are building those relationships. Also, we didn’t have an internship program, so we have a college internship program that we put into place. We are getting that relationship built.”
Claudia
Retail Director | Cleveland, Ohio

Key Takeaway #4

Retail sector employees recognize and are highly motivated by the advantage they can provide to their employers and themselves through gaining credentials, but they still face a multitude of barriers and lack of resources that employers can provide for their and their workers’ mutual benefit

“One of the things we’re seeing is that we went from quickly filling free training to having a hard time filling it. So we are trying to create more bite-sized opportunities that are on demand so [employees] can seek that training when they’re ready for it and so more people will take advantage of it.”
Jordan
Retail Human Resources Generalist | Albuquerque, New Mexico
“Employers can offer tuition reimbursement, and not just for people who already hold bachelor's degrees. I think colleges and universities in general should continue to build their offerings that cater to nontraditional students through their online and "off hour" schedules, as well as be sure to have admin people like advisors and staff devoted solely to this set of students, as their needs are different from those of the 18-year-old set. There is no way I could do this if I had to attend classes in a traditional schedule.”
Laura
Retail Employee and Student | St. Louis, Missouri

Read the full employer report here  | Read the full employee report here | Access the powerpoint here

This project is made possible with support from Walmart.