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Retail’s Seismic Shift Has Drastically Impacted Women More Than Men

National Retail

This year brought a slew of challenges for the retail industry. Bankruptcy filings, store closures and financial distress resulted in thousands of jobs lost.

Throughout this time, another surprising trend has emerged: A disproportionate number of men were hired into retail positions this year in comparison to their female counterparts.


Between November 2016 and November 2017, an estimated 985,000 women gained retail jobs. During the same time period, approximately 1,086,000 men were hired into retail positions, according to a report conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Overall, women's share of retail trade jobs dropped to 49.6% from 50.4%.

Experts say the disparity could be due to one of two things: either women are leaving retail jobs for higher-paying industries or retail segments that traditionally hire more men, such as car and furniture sales, are performing better than those segments that tend to hire more women, such as general merchandising, Technology Review reports.

When it comes to job losses, the largest number of losses for women were recorded in the clothing and accessories sectors, while men lost more positions in stores that catered to food and beverage, sporting goods, hobbies, books and music, IWPP reports.

Segments with the most gains included motor vehicle and parts dealers and building material and garden supply stores.