The global retail sector has faced several serious challenges in recent years, but could the introduction of more immigrants help to solve the most important issues?

By looking at a few examples from around the world, we can see how immigrants are often a crucial part of the retail workforce.  


A Look at the Current Situation

Recent news reports from Australia suggest that some of the biggest retail companies there are on the brink of complete financial collapse. One of the main reasons given for this is the difficulty they’ve been having in hiring new workers.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) pointed out that the issues with finding new employees for their stores has been getting worse. Indeed, close to two-thirds of the country’s retail businesses report a worsening labour shortage in the last quarter. One possible solution to fill the gaps is by allowing retired people to work in the sector without it affecting their financial status.

However, the other possible solution put forward by the ARA is for the government to reduce the amount of red tape that is currently required when a company wants to employ a worker from abroad. The need for international students to help out in retail and hospitality is also mentioned as a current priority.

Back in 2020, a factsheet from the US National Immigration Forum revealed that immigrants made up 14.3% of employees in the retail sector, despite only representing 13% of the overall population. Over half of immigrant retail workers in the US come from Latin America, with 31% from Asia and more than 8% from European countries.

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The Example of Ireland

As one of the countries to have received a large number of immigrants in the last decade or so, the example of Ireland helps us to see how a large inflow of immigrants can be successfully added to the retail workforce. Figures from 2016 show that workers born abroad made up two-thirds of the Irish retail sector.

A big part of the appeal, according to this immigration solicitors Ireland website, is that it’s a well-developed nation that offers an excellent immigration infrastructure. However, this can lead to obtaining citizenship being more difficult due to the high level of demand, which is why turning to an expert for advice is useful in terms of obtaining the correct paperwork and following the process closely.

In more recent times, the retail sector in Ireland has suffered just as it has in other parts of the world, as challenges such as the rise of online shopping have caused some companies to cut back while others have gone out of business. However, the grocery retail sector has continued to provide hope for the future with a stronger performance than other parts of the industry.

The retail sector has a series of challenges that vary by country, and a lack of workforce isn’t a major concern in every case. However, in highly-developed nations, the presence of a large percentage of foreign workers in the retail workforce can be a factor that allows retail companies to grow.