Gen Z accounts for more than half of Australia’s retail workforce

(Source: Bigstock)

Generation Z was predominant in the retail industry last year, accounting for 50.4 per cent of the sector’s employees, a report by workforce management firm Deputy shows.

The proportion of Gen Z employees in the sector increased from 45.5 per cent in 2022, the report added.

Millennials accounted for 27.9 per cent of the retail workforce in 2023, down from 30.5 per cent in the previous year. The ratios of Gen X and Baby Boomers in the industry were 16.4 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively for 2023.

The sector also began to witness the entry of Generation Alpha into the workforce, the report added.

Despite experiencing minor declines throughout 2023, the industry has recently shown signs of recovery. As of recent months, employment in retail is now 2 per cent higher than it was at the beginning of the year.

This modest uptrend in employment within the sector, however, mirrors the broader trend of a slowdown in consumer spending, the report said. The correlation between the slowing pace of consumer expenditure and the growth in employment suggests that the industry’s expansion is closely tied to consumer spending habits.

“While it is natural that we would see an increase in Gen Z shift workers, this change is taking place much faster than anticipated, about three years ahead of the projected timeline, and far ahead of their counterparts in other markets,” commented Shashi Karunanethy, chief economist at Geografia who collaborated on the report.

“With Gen Z taking up the majority of shift work hours, they have the ability to shape workplaces, and business leaders will have to adapt to their specific needs to attract and retain talent amid tight labour conditions,” he added. 

The report analysed more than 114 million shifts across more than 679,000 Australian shift workers in the retail, hospitality, healthcare and services sectors.

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