Do you know how much a person who is working part-time in retail makes each month?
I crunched the numbers after reading an article this week.
Retail Part-Time Estimated Earnings Before Taxes:
Working 30 hours a week at $16 an hour is $1,920
For fewer hours, the pay drops even more for 25 hours it’s $1,600 and at 20 hours the monthly earnings bottoms to $880.
I don’t have to explain how a person would have a difficult time making ends meet on the earnings above. Looking at the numbers, a person would need to work two part-time jobs just to have a chance of paying their bills.
While obtaining my MBA, I took an international finance class. The professor was an odd fellow who was more focused on teaching us life lessons instead of how to hedge currencies.
He told us the most important thing to remember is “when you lose a competitive edge in a practice area it is time to get out.”
My grandmother had a saying, “It just doesn’t pay.” She used the saying as her defining criteria for eliminating unprofitable products or services sold at her business.
For retail workers, these small earnings just don’t pay. If my professor was still teaching, I imagine his advice would be, “working in retail has lost its competitive edge. Create or find another means of employment and income.”
We cannot continue to tell ourselves retail employment at 20 or even 30 hours a week is feasible for individuals at $10 or $11 or even $16 dollars an hour, because it’s not.
Before you argue we should mandate a higher hourly pay, continue reading as I am presenting a different viewpoint for discussion.
Retail employment has lost its competitive edge both for the employee and employer. We all know this model of employment has a reach an end point.
Tuesday evening, my son and I stopped by our mobile provider’s retail store. The store is located in one of the largest malls in Dallas. While we waited, the representative and I started talking about technology.
He mentioned the company was moving customers online and anticipated his job would last about 18 months. He’s a Gen Y, working on a second career. He has an accounting degree and encountered the same problem; entry level accounting positions are being automated too.
I’ve worked on all sides of the employment model as a corporate employee, as an executive for investor funded startup, and as a strategy consultant to companies.
When I worked as an employee at corporations which were massive, almost too big to move or innovate. In many ways, these large corporations are like universities teaching us specific employment and life skills while we worked in the “trenches.”
Taking the essence of one of my favorite quotes by Einstein, we cannot solve employment problems with the same thought process in which we created the jobs.
So, how do we retool and create a new employment model? This new model does not involve band-aid fixes. It must be different.
Article after article discusses the status of unhappy employees who earn lower wages, while companies seek more productivity from the business model.
What we expect and how we view each others’ responsibilities is changing. Retail employees know the old model is dissolving, they just don’t know where to go.
Nor do we know where to send them.
Each day I dig through the internet, call companies, and talk with people in different countries seeking insight on how to create training and develop new jobs now.
I imagine how our world will look in the future; I envision how retail will look when half or 75% of the employees are robots.
The representative I spoke with was very perceptive. He said, “Look the malls are dying. I’ve gotta to jump ahead.” He’s searching too and considering opening a drone repair shop. He’ll learn how to repair the drones from reverse engineering. I suggested to him, as he learns to repair drones post the information to YouTube to help others.
Creating new employment starts small, in the most unlikely of places; it starts from a desperate need to solve a problem.
Believing these jobs will magically appearing out of a black top hat with the touch of a wand is ludicrous.
What are you doing to build the future of work and employment?