The government is always trying to combat unemployment — less people working means less job seekers allowance being distributed and an increase in overall wages which is beneficial for the British economy. With many high street stores closing down and workers in the retail industry being faced with the highest rates of unemployment, it’s imperative that retailers attempt to help fight the battle…but how?
Disability and Employment
To help reduce those out of work due to 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 British government is aiming to introduce one million more disabled individuals to work by 2027, 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.
Diversity at Work
Retailers in the FTSE 100 are on the frontline for 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 gender and cultural diversity benefits employees and also 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.
Collaborating with Charities
Charities can help reduce unemployment levels. Partnering with a disabled or mental health charity for example can help you reach those who are out of work because of a disability or health issue and encourage them to apply.
CT Shirts, retailer of men’s shirts, have 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. CT Shirts 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.
It would seem that for retailers, while the jobs of their in-store employees may be at risk, often 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?
It’s certainly something for retailers to think about before making mass redundancies across the business. 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.
There’s certainly steps that retailers can take to help reduce unemployment rates — hopefully it would spur similar actions in other industries!