NEW YORK, NY— A new report by the national public policy organization Demos reveals prevalent business practices in the retail sector such as low pay, erratic scheduling and scarcity of basic benefits are keeping millions of hard-working women and families near poverty.
Because the retail sector is one of the top industries employing women, and projected to add the most jobs in the next decade, Retail’s Choice: How Raising Wages and Improving Schedules for Women in the Retail Industry Would Benefit America aims to shift a crucial debate around gender inequities in the workforce that often focuses solely on female executives to the women holding the lowest paid positions in the most common occupation in America – retail salesperson. The study underscores the significant social and financial costs of the pay gap for workers in retail, estimating wage losses of $40.8 billion annually for women, who not only bear the brunt of the low-wage trend, but still assume much more family care-giving responsibilities than their male counterparts.
“ The nation's large retailers are in a position to improve the lives of millions of America's working women and their families – boosting the national economy and creating jobs while also advancing their own outlook for sales growth,” said Amy Traub, Demos Senior Policy Analyst and report author. “Our research shows how improving scheduling, giving workers the hours they need and raising pay to the modest level of $25,000 a year for full-time work can help women succeed."
Key findings from the report include:
Building on Demos’ previous study, Retail’s Hidden Potential: How Raising Wages Would Benefit Workers, the Industry and the Overall Economy, this latest report not only illustrates how major retailers can afford better wages and improved scheduling, but also projects a $381 billion loss in cumulative wages and an additional 100,000 women joining the ranks of retail’s working poor should present trends continue.