Despite a talent shortage across many key industries, 67% of Australian part-time and casual workers including retail sector employees are still unable to secure the shifts that they desire each week, according to new research from intelligent workforce management solutions provider, Humanforce.

This is leading to over 62% of part-time or casual retail employees seeking work at multiple businesses to get the number of shifts they need.

“Many Australian retailers have faced worker shortages due to closed borders and Omicron isolation requirements, creating operational and customer service challenges. While there may be an assumption that there is an overabundance of retail work today, new research shows that there is a disconnect with the local flexible workforce who are not able to secure work when they want it each week,” Humanforce founder and managing director, Bruce Mackenzie said.

A key workplace challenge for part-time or casual retail employees was the lack of workplace flexibility, with 61% of workers stating that they had experienced multiple instances of being unable to swap shifts with a co-worker over the last 12 months.

For workers that need to swap shifts, 30% reported they had to find someone to cover their shift themselves, with 63% having to call or text message managers and fellow workers to swap shifts.

Only 18% of respondents currently work for employees that automate shift-swapping via online or mobile apps – with a further 44% of people saying that such a system would be important in their workplace in the future.

“A lack of technology in the retail workplace is limiting the flexible working options of many part-time and casual employees. Advanced workplace management solutions can help facilitate a flexible work environment for employees, through automating shift management, onboarding, training, leave management and more,” Mackenzie added.

“People undertaking flexible work want to be able to fulfill their employment obligations around other important life commitments. They are attracted to flexible work and in a tight labour market, businesses need to position themselves as an employer of choice by having systems in place that can make the lives of their workers easier.”