Turnover Rates Rise for C-store Associates, Assistant Managers


NATIONAL REPORT -- The convenience store industry has come a long way in improving its image as a place where one can find a long-term career that's rewarding both personally and financially.

Today, the average c-store manager remains in his or her position for seven years, up from 5.6 years in 2011, and the industry turnover rate for store managers is just 10.5 percent. At the industry's single stores, these figures are even more impressive as the average single-store manager is employed for 9.1 years and the turnover rate is a mere 1 percent.

While the convenience channel is doing a good job of retaining managers, there is room for improvement when it comes to store associates and, to a lesser degree, assistant managers, according to the Convenience Store News 2013 HR & Labor Study. This exclusive research is conducted every other year and analyzes turnover, benefits, wages, salary and more.

This year's results show higher turnover rates for both store associates and assistant managers. The industry turnover rate for associates currently stands at 57.5 percent, up from 45.1 percent in the CSNews 2011 HR & Labor Study. Meanwhile, for assistant managers, the current turnover rate is 22.6 percent, up from 18.4 percent two years ago.

With more employees to keep happy, the industry's chain operators (two or more stores) suffer from far higher turnover rates than single-store owners. For instance, the associate turnover rate for chains is 73.9 percent vs. 41.2 percent for single stores. Likewise, the assistant manager turnover rate for chains is 32.7 percent vs. just 1.7 percent at independent stores.

Wages continues to be the No. 1 factor impacting turnover rates, same as in 2011. In fact, the top four factors impacting turnover rates remain unchanged: wages, dismissal for cause, competition for employees from other businesses, and benefits. In this year's study, however, unpopular shifts (e.g. overnight hours) jumped up two spots to round out the top five.

In regards to wages, the mean starting hourly pay for store associates across the c-store industry is $8.14, up 13 cents from $8.01 in 2011. This starting wage is 89 cents higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The industry's single-store owners are slightly more generous with a mean starting wage of $8.26, compared to $8.02 for chain operators.

Store associates are given their first pay increase about six months after their start date, the study results show. The mean across the industry is 6.5 months. Single-store owners make their new employees wait slightly longer than chains -- 7 months vs. 6.1 months for chains.

As for the amount of that first pay increase, though, single stores outdo chains. The mean for single stores is 52 cents vs. 35 cents for chains. Industrywide, the mean is 43 cents, up from 36 cents two years ago. Nearly 90 percent of all respondents said wage increases are tied to performance reviews, with about 62 percent conducting formal reviews. This number is higher for chains, at 84.8 percent. Only about 37 percent of single stores conduct formal reviews.

While the majority of c-store retailers (60 percent) say their pay scale is the same as comparable businesses in the market, more respondents this year indicated they pay less. In 2011, 7.2 percent of respondents said they pay less; this year, that figure rose to 11.7 percent.

For more results from the CSNews 2013 HR & Labor Study, look in the November issue of Convenience Store News.

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