Retail staff age profile changing

Published:  17 August, 2010

LONDON: The number of older workers in retail is growing with the number of over 50s employed within the sector set to grow by 22% in 10 years, according to a report by Skillsmart Retail.

The 16-24 year old age group still dominates the retail profile making up almost a third of all employees but the report shows a growing number of older people employed compared with eight years ago especially in the 55-64 and 65-74 age groups.

Last year workers aged over 55 accounted for one in seven of the workforce, with 50,000 more people from that age group working in retail than in 2001.

The trend is well established in the DIY sector with more than a quarter (28%) of B&Q's store employees aged over 50.

The retail sector currently draws 3% of this age group yet the potential market for retailers to employ from within the 50-plus age group is nearly three times greater than the 16-24 age group, said Skillsmart Retail.

It predicts a 22% increase in the number of over 50s working in retail and a 9% drop in the number of 16-24 year old working in retail in the next 10 years.

Younger workers are transient typically working for a retailer ranging between one and two years. Over 50s remain for five to 10 years with a retail employer.

Skillsmart Retail said there is need for structured training of older staff especially for IT literacy.

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