The retail employee turnover rate is very high this holiday season, with retail workers leaving their positions for “better opportunities/promotions” and a desire for more money and hours.

A new survey on the top U.S. retailers by Korn Ferry found that the retail employee turnover rate is up by nearly a third of survey respondents (29 percent) since the beginning of 2018. “Of all retail positions, part-time hourly store employees have the highest turnover rate, with an 81 percent average rate in 2018. That is an increase from 76 percent in 2017.”

“Retailers are in a Catch 22 situation this holiday season. While high consumer confidence and a strong economy mean year-over-year sales are predicted to grow, low unemployment means there just won’t be enough workers to fill retail positions,” says Craig Rowley, Korn Ferry senior partner, retail and consumer. “To combat the situation, retailers are in a bidding war for hourly retail workers, and they are giving existing workers more hours to fulfill the need.”

To fight employee loss, some retailers are going above and beyond pay raises to keep workers on staff. During the holidays, Target offers employees gift cards, for example. J.C. Penney offers vacation incentives, and Kohl’s has an employee discount shopping day.

Existing workers are also wanting to get the same treatment (and wage) as seasonal and incoming workers. It’s estimated that by the end of next year, though, 95 percent of existing employees will have salaries on par with the starting pay boost.

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