The Duty Of The Retail Industry In Battling Unemployment


For both the public and the government, unemployment is a crucial issue to address. For people, it is the sheer instability of income that can place pressure on their everyday lives. For the government, the problem lies in people needing jobseeker’s allowance, which in turn impact disposable income and the state of the economy.  

2019 is set to bring only further high street closures, and the issue of unemployment is pressing heavily upon retail staff. But there are ways for the retail sector to work around the problem.   



Being unable to work due to disability is a common issue. In order to reduce the amount of people who are out of work down 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 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. 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.  



Another common issue raised in employment is the lack of diversity in some companies. 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.   

Hiring employees from all walks of life is not only beneficial to the workforce, but to the workplace too. 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.  



Here are many charities who help those struggling to find work. 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.  

Men’s suits retailer, CT Shirts, is a great example of 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. 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.  


New training  

Though the in-store environment may be slowing down, e-commerce teams are thriving. 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 to consider in the event of redundancy being on the cards for a store’s staff. 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 

Here are so many ways retail stores can work around unemployment threats. As some companies pave the way, it’s down to other industry players to make big changes too. 


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