Automation is significantly reducing the number of cashier positions in the retail industry as companies reduce costs by reducing their workforce. The Amazon effect has had a dramatic effect on the industry as a whole, but it’s the minimum wage cashiers and low-skilled workers most alarmed by prospects for the future, and they should be.
Analysis from the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis finds robots will take more than 60% of low wage jobs in every major metropolitan area of the U.S. by 2035. Competition sparked by automation increases the stakes for every job hunter, and business consultant Garrison Wynn advises applicants be on their toes. “You walk into any interview and you tell them, ‘I’m organized. I’m consistent. I show up on time. I’m willing to learn whatever it is and I’m willing to fit into your system. And I’m flexible.”
Wynn says Houston has been an island of opportunity in difficult times. “We have jobs. We have more jobs than anybody. I’ve always said if you can’t find a job in Houston it’s you.”
Planning and getting appropriate training for the future is key, suggests Wynn, noting that in conversations he has frequently with CEO’s and leaders of HR departments highlight a component of today’s career adjustment. “The number one problem they have is finding people to work there. They are looking for qualified people and they can’t find them,” he says.
A recent analysis by a British company reports that 7.5 million retail jobs are at “high risk of computerization,” with almost half expected to be particularly hard hit.