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Retailers Shirk Training Seasonal Staff


Retailers fear that customer service levels and the ability to restock shelves quickly will suffer this Christmas as a direct result of staff shortages but despite the findings only a fifth will consider training as an option for improving things.

Deloitte’s Christmas retail survey shows that one in five retailers is concerned that they will be unable to recruit the right staff.

Low unemployment is not helping matters. According to the survey, retailers in the South East and South West will find it particularly difficult to find the right workers. Unemployment rates in each region are just 1.6%.

Two thirds of retailers (67%) expect levels of customer service to drop as a result over Christmas, a notable increase over last year’s figure of 60%, and half (52%) believe that the key to maintaining service levels is to harness the experience of regular staff and managers.

Only a fifth, however, said they would consider training as a way of mitigating poor customer service levels.

Employing the same seasonal workers is a tactic adopted by 14% of bosses, an increase from 9% who said the same last year.

Half (49%) use a combination of regular and new staff.

Brett Walsh, European Head of Human Capital at Deloitte said: "There is strong evidence that the job market has improved in the last year, offering more opportunities to seasonal workers. As a result, retailers may face skills shortages this year and find it hard to attract staff who can meet customer demands.

"With growth in consumer spending expected to be just 2%, retailers are working in an increasingly competitive environment. The failure to resource customer service positions will be critical to their success over the period."

Consumers cite friendliness and politeness as the most important attributes for retail staff, followed by helpfulness, promptness and demonstration of good knowledge.

A total of 1000 adults were interviewed for the survey.


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