As e-commerce disrupts retail, it could be giving workers more jobs, better wages
- The growth of e-commerce is creating digital jobs in retail that also pay higher wages, Dallas News reports. Michael Mandel, an economist at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, told Dallas News that e-commerce includes online shopping, mail order, warehousing and in-store pickup.
- Retail giants like Wal-Mart, in a bid to compete with Amazon, have made the leap into e-commerce with fulfillment centers and distribution centers. Amazon has opened distribution centers across the country.
- E-commerce added 397,000 jobs nationally since the end of 2007, says Dallas News. That figure is more than twice the number of hires in other retail categories.
For workers, e-commerce could be a hedge against the closure of brick-and-mortar retail establishments as well as wage stagnation. We've seen that happen in Amazon's case, especially with the company's promise to create 100,000 new full-time positions complete with paid leave, insurance and stock benefits.
That's almost unheard of in the retail industry, which has grown increasingly reliant on seasonal and part-time work to offset labor costs. Jobs numbers are also a sore spot for the industry, with 60,000 low-paid positions, most of them cashier and sales personnel, lost in the first three months of 2017. It's worth watching to see whether e-commerce operations can buck that trend going forward.
In January, Lowe's announced a shift in its business model to compete in the growing e-commerce market, laying off less than 1% of its 285,000 workers. Those remaining will reportedly see a shift in their responsibilities as a result of the change.
The home improvement chain said it will use 45% of its $3.6 billion in capital budget expenses in 2017-2019 to focus more on customer services. There's no doubt competitors will have to make similar strategic moves, which will likely have a ripple effect on an industry that employs more than 15 million Americans.
- Dallas News (The Dallas Morning News) From Amazon to Wal-Mart, digital retail is producing more jobs and higher pay
- HR Dive Lowe's plans to lay off less than 1% of it's workforce as it shifts staffing models
- HR Dive Amazon to create 100K full-time jobs with full benefits