DIY chain looks to recruit 4,000 in expansion plans

B&Q intends to recruit 4,000 new staff over the next 12 months despite
the downturn in the economy.

The DIY chain has already taken on 3,000 staff this year and the new jobs
are part of the retailer’s expansion plans.

The majority of the new positions will be created at warehouse or
supercentre B&Q stores and will include managerial posts as well as
customer service staff. Twenty-two new stores will be opening around the
country with B&Q setting a target of 175 by 2006.

B&Q’s HR director Mike Cutt said, "We’ve had a major store opening
programme for the last four years and it’s a continuation of that. There is
also a growth in the DIY market as a whole.

"It’s good news for the home improvement market and the areas where
we’re opening new stores. We are creating new positions in places where there
have been job losses in the past such as Liverpool and the North East."

The scale of the recruitment is creating challenges for B&Q’s HR team
which faces huge administrative problems associated with employing so many new
staff in a relatively short timeframe. In the more affluent areas it can also
be difficult to find large numbers of available staff.

"We’ve now got nearly 30,000 staff in the UK and hiring such a large
volume does present HR challenges. However, we have still managed to reduce our
[staff] turnover from 34 per cent to 25 per cent. Because of such large-scale
recruitment we can often exhaust an area’s labour market."

The company is looking to recruit "experts" from the building
trades to improve the quality of the advice provided to customers. Cutt
explained, "We’re aiming to hire 20 experts per store and we’re looking
for people who are ex-plumbers or joiners that will be able to advise our
customers."

By Ross Wigham

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