Retail Jobs Are Treated As A Temporary Bridge To Something Better. But Why?

September 27, 2021
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Alina Selyukh
NPR News

For a long time, for a lot of people, jobs in retail were a career. Now, though, those jobs are largely seen as temporary. What exactly happened?

Nobody is in retail because they really want to be (laughter). It's a bridge to another place. And it would be really nice if we could make that environment so that that's not necessarily the case because some people don't have that choice.

SELYUKH: The corporate pitch for free college tuition is to help workers grow within the company. But it can also be seen as an acknowledgement that store jobs are meant to be a temporary bridge, a bridge that at any moment this past decade has supported about 15 million workers.

GERSTEIN: We're always going to need people in these jobs. So why is educating some subset of people so they don't have to do these jobs - like, why is that the answer instead of, actually, retail workers' jobs should be good?

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