Retail is the UK’s largest private sector employer, providing three million jobs across the country and for many, offers the first taste of the world of work. Retail is a dynamic industry, offering excellent career paths and in-work progression opportunities to the people who work in it. For many the attraction to retail is the flexibility it offers, both in allowing them to work around their other commitments and the ability to vary their week according to their needs. For others it could be simply the locality and proximity to home. 

Transformation in retail, combined with a bold political landscape, requires even greater focus on ensuring the industry delivers better jobs. While technology and automation is reducing the number of transactional roles, the changes this brings also presents an opportunity to retrain, improve productivity and for the industry to play a central role in training a fantastic new talent pipeline for the future. The ever-increasing consumer demand, along with the rise in digitalisation and automation is changing swiftly meaning the scale and nature of retail jobs is also changing.

A brief history....

In 2016, the Government commissioned Matthew Taylor, now Interim Director of Labour Market Enforcement, to conduct an independent review into Modern Working Practices, focused on looking at how employment practices might need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models and to mitigate against labour exploitation in the workplace.

In July 2017, the Government published its Review of Modern Working Practices which included 53 recommendations from the Taylor Review on a range of issues such as: implications of new forms of work, the rise of digital platforms and the impact of widening workers rights. Ultimately, this created an overarching ambition that all work should be fair and decent and that employers give employees realistic scope to develop and progress. The BRC supports this ambition while ensuring any change is reasonable and that businesses are given time and support to adapt.

In 2018, the BRC committed to work with the industry to deliver a strategy for Better Jobs. Although we have seen good progress since then at both industry and company level, some companies have been able to move more rapidly than others to adapt to the emerging challenges and attain the best possible outcomes. At the same time, the Government and a range of interested parties have taken a growing interest in the quality of work.

In 2019, the BRC committed to maximise the benefit of the industry’s experience and aligned expert insight by sharing good practice, helping retailers to successfully transform what they do and how they do it. A planned outcome of this work is to help ensure the industry to attract and retain the best talent, develop a vitally important talent pipeline and, with the added expectation of enhanced workers’ rights, make necessary adaptations to prepare for a post-Brexit labour market.

In 2020, the BRC identified that diversity and inclusion in retail should be a key element of the forward focus for the campaign.  In particular, taking a more granular approach to increasing diversity in the workplace and creating a respectful, inclusive work environment in which every employee has the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the businesses vision and goals.

Joining the fray....

To access our exclusive BRC member only content, you need to register to access the BRC CRM system and then subscribe to the HR Community. To register please do so using your work email address, the BRC CRM system will then recognise you as a subscriber by the domain(s) your company uses.

1. Click on ‘SIGN IN (top right hand corner)

2. Click ‘REGISTER’

3. Once you have completed the details, an activation email will be sent to you.

4. Click the link in the email to activate the account

Once registered, you can then subscribe to the HR Community by completing this short form.

How it works:

There are two distinct groups in the HR space with us here at BRC:

  • The HR Director group - who tend to convene quarterly and very much set the strategy, have the high level overview
  • The HR General group - who delve more into the technical detail. It is the HR General group who will receive the invites to the Thursday Drop-ins and other ad hoc sessions e.g. on immigration, consultation responses etc. Of course, HR Directors are welcome to sit across both groups if they wish.

To automatically receive the calendar invites with the MS Teams joining details for calls for either group, please email Feel free to join as and when your diaries allow.