Third of retail workers want to quit

Nearly a third (31 per cent) of retail workers actively want to leave their job, and a further fifth (21 per cent) no longer want to work in the sector, according to new research.

A study of 1,500 workers from The Retail Trust as part of its Health of Retail report showed that factors such as the cost of living (24 per cent) and abuse from customers (30 per cent) were driving low morale amongst the retail workforce.

A total of 83 per cent of workers said they experienced a deterioration in their mental health as a result of their work, the study found.

Levels of wellbeing among the retail workforce more generally are declining, with the study identifying a lack of support from employers as a recurring theme.

Despite three quarters (75 per cent) of retailers claiming that wellbeing was high on the agenda, 40 per cent had no wellbeing strategy in place.

Over half (54 per cent) of managers felt unable to deal with their team's mental health issues, while 40 per cent of managers said they felt unsupported by head office.

Just over quarter (26 per cent) of retail managers say they also want to leave the industry.

For regular workers, two-thirds (66 per cent ) said they were unable to get the help they needed to deal with their mental health issues.

The Retail Trust also interviewed leaders of 20 household name retailers for its Health of Retail report and worked with employee engagement platform WorkL to assess the wellbeing of a further 4,500 retail workers, which found that retail is one of the unhappiest industries to work in compared to other sectors.

Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the Retail Trust, said:“People working in retail have moved from one period of turmoil to another. They are exhausted after two years of a global pandemic and now facing a world dominated by a brutal war while coming to terms with a cost of living crisis, with inflation at a 40-year-high, that threatens to put our standards of living back decades.

“We believe the retail industry is committed to improving workplace wellbeing but our research shows there’s a clear gap between how retailers think their employees are feeling and the reality."

He added: "A worrying 83 per cent of retail workers have experienced a deterioration in their mental health and too few line mangers say they are equipped to deal with this. This poses a serious long-term challenge as more and more people turn away from the sector. The retail industry must foster a happy and healthy workforce to attract and retain the talent it needs to survive and thrive.”

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