Broadbridge, A. (2004), "Editorial", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 32 No. 9. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijrdm.2004.08932iaa.001
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This issue of Retail Insights is themed around employment issues in retailing.
Peter Jones and Ruth Schmidt’s article focuses on the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) which sought to give people with disabilities statutory rights in the various areas, employment being one of them. Most of the employment provisions of the legislation came into force in 1998, although further provisions, particularly those affecting very small retailers with less than 15 employees come into force in October 2004. Their article provides an overview of the employment challenges that face retailers and how some of the multiples have responded. However, they point out that many small and independent retailers have been slow to address the challenges presented by the Act. Some have claimed that making adjustments to their premises is cost prohibitive while others do not appreciate the business gains to be had. Either way, they will face growing legal action and consequential negative publicity after October 2004.
Claire Tiney is a graduate of the MBA in retailing at Stirling University. She is now the HR director of Mothercare. In her article she writes about the uptake of requests for flexible working within Mothercare (we outlined new Government legislation on flexible working in volume 31issue 7) and provides some evidence of job sharing at managerial levels in practice. This is an important area and one which I have for a long time advocated and argued should be feasible within retail management levels. However, there is reluctance on the part of some retail companies to offer such job share schemes to management level positions, and it is important to question why such reluctance exists. However, Claire’s article helps to dispel some of the myths surrounding flexible working and job sharing and exposes some of the benefits of these methods of working.
James Hendrie is also a graduate of the MBA in retailing at Stirling University. He undertook research into staff satisfaction and the causes of labour turnover in a major multiple retail company. A self completed questionnaire from 335 respondents revealed that pay rates, hours of work and staffing levels were major dislikes of the job and could contribute to staff turnover. Poor staff recognition and poor communication were also problems. He concludes his article by making some recommendations as to how the company may attempt to reduce labour turnover levels in the future.
The final article is by Carley Foster and, to quote Carley herself, is her “first publication in a recognised journal”. In it she considers the issue of gender within the B&Q DIY sector of retailing. Conducting focus groups with male and female employees and customers at two of their stores, she proposes that B&Q have a masculine image because of the very nature of the sector. Staff were found to be employed in gender stereotyped departments. She also found that all customers, when seeking technical advice, were more likely to approach male members of staff who were associated with having the technical expertise and practical knowledge required. When seeking help on less technical aspects of DIY customers were less concerned about the gender of front-line staff. Her findings interest me in the context of my own research where I interviewed a woman manager who had begun her career in DIY stores as a management trainee. While she had encountered some negative responses from some male staff, the experience had nonetheless been valuable and her abilities had become visible to senior management. Although no longer in this sector, she attributes her experiences there as crucial to her gaining a senior management position by her mid thirties.
We conclude the issue with an interview conducted by Sarah Powell with Professor Amin Rajaan on the subject of workforce diversity.
Adelina BroadbridgeUniversity of Stirling