How The Retail Industry Can Adapt To Unemployment Rates

how retail industry adapt unemployment rates

Unemployment is an issue at the forefront of society, and it has been high on the government’s agenda for the past decade. 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, 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? Find out more about retailer recovery below. 

Employment And Disability 

Back a couple of years ago, The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work launched a campaign which retailers can choose to enter in to, aiming to help reduce the amount of people that are out of work due to a disability. 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 target is currently to get one million disabled people back into employment by 2027, and with an ever-growing retail workforce this is the perfect initiative to help achieve this. 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 A Diverse Workforce 

By advocating for a broader selection process, retailers can help to encourage diversity in opportunities. The industry has already acted upon this, and it was reported that retail companies in the FTSE 100 are ahead of other industries when it comes to gender diversity.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 vital to promote diversity in gender and cultural background when hiring not only for employees, but also for developing business culture. 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. 

Charity Collaboration 

Partnerships with relevant charities are another viable way to encourage a higher rate of employment amongst those who are prevented by a disability. 

These collaborative projects with specialist disability and mental health charities can prove invaluable in helping to encourage a broader range of people to apply, regardless of their ability. 

CT Shirts have demonstrated these principles. 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. 

The trust regularly invites a range of retailers to attend one of their ‘’Get Hired’’ days — an activity including mock interviews with young people who have been through The Prince’s Trust Programmes to get to know some potential employees. 

Cross-Discipline Training 

Even though the forecast for retail seems overwhelmingly bleak, the digital marketing and e- commerce sector is thriving and new recruits should consider focusing on these areas. 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? 

Retailers should certainly consider implementing these ideas into their businesses, as a potential way to avoid large scale redundancies. 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. 


Retailers have the power to change the tide of unemployment rates by developing their approaches to recruitment, diversity and training. As some companies pave the way, it’s down to other industry players to make big changes too.

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