Report: Half of All Retail Jobs Could Be Lost to Automation in 10 Years
Between 6 million and 7.5 million retail industry jobs are vulnerable to automation within 10 years, according to a report by Cornerstone Capital Group released this week. The report concluded that the jobs of 47 percent of the 16 million Americans currently working in retail could be made redundant by highly automated e-commerce and other innovations. In-store roles most vulnerable to automation include cashiers and order clerks, while salespeople and freight handlers are slightly less exposed. Jobs that require a personal touch like store greeters would also be insulated from direct replacement by robots or apps. However, increasing competitive pressure could still make such jobs too expensive for stores to justify.
Total Retail’s Take: What does this mean for retailers that want to keep human staff? In the report, Cornerstone lays out two strategies retailers can take: lower-end retailers can use technology to increase convenience and volume, while high-end retailers could focus on technology that enhances the customer experience. If more retailers focus on using technology to support highly skilled workers and enhance service, it could be a win-win for consumers, retailers and employees.