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Reducing unemployment in the retail industry

40 per cent more shops close in 2018 than 2017 — and unfortunately 2019 is failing to look much more optimistic. It is no myth that the high street is facing an existential crisis. Last year the British public witnessed an average of 16 shops per day shutting their doors for the final time. Maplin and Toys R Us are just two of the companies which joined this club in 2018, but how are others battling to keep the wolves away from the door? Lets take a look:

Diversity

A report from the FTSE 100 in 2017 found that retail, as an industry, is significantly ahead of alternative industries when it comes to gender diverse employment. 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.

Alongside offering those with a differing gender or cultural background the chance of employment, companies will benefit themselves. 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.

Multi-skilled

Although a large number of physical employees in-store may be unnecessary, recruitment in their digital marketing and e-commerce teams are still growing. Therefore, an important consideration to make is whether retail employees should be trained in other areas of the business too. Or at least should their knowledge of the company and its products or services be valued so that their given the opportunity to progress in another area of the business after redundancy?

Despite the fact there may exist a number of benefits and drawbacks of this concept, it is definitely worth consideration prior to down-sizing the workforce. Cross-discipline training can also encourage more loyal employees and therefore those who are more invested in the performance of the retail business as a whole.

Working with charities

Working with charities who help the unemployed return to work is a fantastic way of reducing the levels of those currently out of work.

Furthermore, reaching out to charities who work to support those with physical disabilities or mental health problems can help you reach those who are out of work because of a disability or health issue and encourage them to apply.

CT Shirts, who sell stylish men’s shirts are just one example of business which do this. 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.

The sophisticated clothing retailer, among other companies who work along with the Prince’s Trust, took advantage of one of their “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.

Disability

In 2018, in a bid to reduce the number of people out of work due to disability, The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work launched a campaign 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.

Plans drawn up in 2017 by the British Government propose they wish to see one million extra disabled people in work by the end of 2027 — this is a great opportunity for retailers who are doing well in the industry to expand their workforce. By looking at the Disability Confident list of employers that have signed up, we can see that branches of big names such as Asda, Barclays, and B&M Bargains are all committed.

Multi-skilled

Although a large number of physical employees in-store may be unnecessary, recruitment in their digital marketing and e-commerce teams are still growing. Therefore, an important consideration to make is whether retail employees should be trained in other areas of the business too. Or at least should their knowledge of the company and its products or services be valued so that their given the opportunity to progress in another area of the business after redundancy?

Despite the fact there may exist a number of benefits and drawbacks of this concept, it is definitely worth consideration prior to down-sizing the workforce. Cross-discipline training can also encourage more loyal employees and therefore those who are more invested in the performance of the retail business as a whole.

The retail industry is continuously changing and more so now than ever thanks to the invention of the smart-phone and the ease of access to the internet. Deciding on which avenue you will take in regard to staff can be play particular significance in terms of success.


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