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Are Part-Time Workers the New Norm in Retail?

Major retailers rely more on part-time workers now than ever. Is this a fleeting trend or a sign of the new norm?

Major retailers rely more on part-time workers now than ever. Is this a fleeting trend or a sign of the new norm?

It’s probably the latter, according to a recent New York Times article. “Over the past two decades, many major retailers went from a quotient of 70 to 80 percent full-time to at least 70 percent part-time across the industry,” said Strategic Resource Group managing director Burt P. Flickinger III to the newspaper. The eight-hour shifts most workers have come to regard as the norm are now two-, three- or five-hour shifts.

Unfortunately, retailers’ love of part-time workers isn’t reciprocated. In the retail and hospitality industries, 3.1 million part-time employees say they would prefer to work full-time, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As part-timers clamor for more shifts, managers are hiring more employees. In response, many have turned to taking second or third jobs to pay the bills — a risky proposition, considering that employers expect even their part-time employees to have open availability for shift work.

Hourly workers, have you seen your company’s management cut hours or hire on additional staff?

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(Photo credit: lgkiii/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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