Career concerns “hampering retail recruitment”

A new survey has revealed that recruiting and retaining staff is becoming extremely difficult for retailers

A lack of career progression is undermining Irish retailer’s ability to recruit and retain staff, according to a new survey by A large majority of retailers say that recruitment and employee retention are significant barriers to business.



12 March 2019

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A new survey has revealed that recruitment and employee retention are two major challenges faced by Ireland’s retail sector today. Over four in five (83 percent) retail employers in Ireland view recruitment as a challenge for their business with a further 60 percent facing challenges in employee retention.

Survey results suggest that a lack of progression opportunities in the retail industry could be contributing to the difficulties faced by employers when hiring and retaining staff.

When asked about their current recruitment methods, a total of 83 percent of Irish retail employers said that they only hire with a view for the job at hand and no expectation of employee progression or development.

Adding to this, 67 percent of those surveyed don’t have a clear career progression pathway within their business.

However, 60 percent of respondents would do their best to keep an employee that shows promise and would take additional measures to keep these members of staff in the business.

When those who find employee retention issues were asked how they are addressing the problem, the survey found that:

  • 66 percent offer a pay increase
  • 60 percent offer additional training or opportunities for education
  • 50 percent offer promotions
  • 40 percent offer greater workplace perks
  • 32 percent offer greater workplace flexibility

“There is a general assumption that quirky workplace perks and a high-tech, Instagram-worthy work space is key to becoming an attractive employer,” says general manager Christopher Paye. “This is simply not true.

“Historically,” Paye says, “the retail sector has offered less structured careers than many other sectors.  This is partly attributable to many retail businesses being small family owned enterprises while others have traditionally favoured a very flat management structure.

“This is slowly beginning to change,” he continues.  “Many large retailers including supermarket chains and franchise businesses, are now offering very competitive graduate programmes, and by extension, more clearly defined career paths.

“While this model of employment won’t be an option for every retailer, those facing acute recruitment or retention challenges may need to consider other ways they can offer prospective hires greater long-term opportunities beyond the immediate job at hand.”

According to Mr Paye: “It is encouraging to see that three in five employers (60%) are willing to offer training or education to employees, meanwhile half would offer promotion opportunities as a means of keeping their best staff.

“With 92 percent of employers in the retail sector planning to hire within the next 12 months,” he adds, “it is crucial that they take the time to evaluate their recruitment process and expectations to ensure that the process doesn’t remain a challenge in the months to come.”




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