Retail is facing a difficult time with the closure of high street stores set to continue in 2019 and retail workers facing the highest levels of unemployment.
Retailers are therefore facing a number of options as to how they tackle job reduction and recruitment in the industry.
Employment and disability
In order to reduce the number of people who are out of work because of a disability, The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work launched a campaign in 2018 which retailers can voluntarily opt in to. It is called the “Disability Confident” employer scheme which provides employers with the skills, examples and confidence to recruit and develop disabled employees.
The government aims to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027 and this is a great opportunity for retailers who are doing well in the industry to expand their workforce. Asda, Barclays, and B&M Bargains are among the big brands which have signed up for the Disability Confident list of employers.
Encouraging a diverse workforce
In 2017 it was reported that retail companies in the FTSE 100 are ahead of other industries when it comes to gender diversity. Retailers should focus on broadening their selection process when it comes to the recruitment process. This can ensure that those who’ve lost a job in a retail position face equal opportunity when it comes to finding a new role.
Encouraging diversity in gender and cultural background when hiring is not only beneficial for employees, but also for the business itself. Ultimately, when a workforce is representative of a customer base, it can lead to a better understanding of the target market and an improvement in business performance.
Another way to reduce unemployment levels is to collaborate with charities who are there to help those who are struggling to find work.
Partnering with a disabled or mental health charity for example can help retailers reach those who are out of work because of a disability or health issue and encourage them to apply.
One example of this is men’s shirts retailer, CT Shirts. This company has a long-standing partnership with the Prince’s Trust which involves fundraising and a mutually beneficial relationship. This charity works closely with vulnerable young people who need a helping hand to get their lives back on track.
Like many retailers that The Trust works with, CT Shirts took advantage of one of its “Get Hired” days — a day of greetings and interviews with young people who have been through The Prince’s Trust Programmes to get to know some potential employees.
While the jobs of in-store employees may be at risk, recruitment in the digital marketing and e-commerce teams are still growing, so re-training is becoming important, offering opportunities for employees to progress in another area of the business after redundancy. Cross-discipline training can also encourage more loyalty.
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