What Role Does The Retail Sector Play In Combating Unemployment?

It’s become apparent that the levels of unemployment have become a problem here in the UK. Less people out of work means fewer people claiming job seekers allowance and a rise in overall disposable income, 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?Role Retail Sector Play Combating Unemployment


To encourage more people with disabilities to enter the working world, the government has launched a new campaign. It is called the “Disability Confident” employer scheme which provides employers with the skills, examples and confidence to recruit and develop disabled employees.

In the next eight years, the aim is to have one million more people with a disability in the workplace. 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.

Accepting greater diversity

Interestingly, bigger companies are performing extremely well when it comes to welcoming more diversity into the workplace – especially FTSE 100 retailers. 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.

It’s no secret that if you have a more diverse workforce, you’ll grow as a brand and have a greater retail performance. 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.

Joining efforts with charities

Another way to help people who are in tough positions and can’t enter the workforce in the traditional sense is to work with charities. 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.

Charles Tyrwhitt, who are retailers of luxury black suits, are a prime example of a brand who are already doing this already. 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.

Offering advanced training

As a leader in your industry, you should always be looking to develop your staff and look at other areas of your brand where they could do with some additional training. 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.