Stories

It's getting harder for Americans to break into retail

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Getting a retail job isn't what it once was, putting unskilled workers at a severe disadvantage.

The big picture: The skills required to apply for entry-level retail work have gone up since 2010, according to a Burning Glass Technologies analysis for the AP.

Examples:

  • The analysis "found a greater emphasis on customer service and communications skills for cashier, stock clerk and sales floor support jobs," the AP's Anne D'Innocenzio reports.
  • "And for many other entry-level jobs, employers want even more skills, like the ability to use customer relations software like Salesforce."
  • "Even forklift operators are being asked to be proficient in inventory management software."
  • Cashiers: "Employers asked for five skills in 2016, up from three in 2010."
  • The alternatives: Cleaning and other service jobs that are more physically demanding and present less opportunity for upward growth.

Why it matters: With corporate executives increasingly saying the era of broad-based wages is over — and millions of jobs on the verge of obsolescence— this is a real worry for workers who need to get their start.

Quote“The bottom may be coming out of the career ladder."
Burning Glass CEO Matt Sigelman.

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