The unemployment rate is always an ongoing challenge for the government. Less people out of work means fewer people claiming job seekers allowance and a rise of overall disposable income, which are both advantages for the state of the economy. With the closure of high street stores set to continue in 2019, and retail workers facing the highest levels of unemployment, it’s important that successful retailers do what they can do reduce unemployment in the industry — but how?
To address the amount of people out of work due to a disability, The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work launched a campaign in 2018, which give retailer and optional opportunity. The campaign is called the “Disability Confident” employer scheme which provides employers with the skills, examples and confidence to recruit and develop disabled employees.
The aim of the government is to see one million disabled people working by 2027 and this opportunity is ideal for retailers who are doing will 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.
Encouraging diversity in the workforce
A report was released in 2017 that revealed that retailers in the FTSE 100 are ahead compared to 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.
By encouraging diversity in your workforce, whether it’s gender or cultural it doesn’t just benefit your employees, but your company itself as well. 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
Collaborating with charities can surely help reduce unemployment levels, because they’re there to help those who struggle to find work.
Forming a partnership with a disabled or mental health charity for example can help you reach to those who are out of work because they’re disabled or health condition in which they can be encouraged to apply.
An example of this is retailer of men’s shirts, 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 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’s true that for many 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?
There are advantages and disadvantages to this idea, but 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.
As we can see, there are a range of considerations that retailers are currently making or should think about when it comes to reducing unemployment. As some companies pave the way, it’s down to other industry players to make big changes too.