‘Prehistoric’ jobs websites mean retailers miss out on top talent

Top retailers including Marks & Spencer, O2 and House of Fraser are losing out on thousands of talented job candidates because of badly designed websites, research has revealed.

Only 40 out of 100 retail recruitment sites evaluated by independent adjudicators were deemed good enough to attract candidates. Even many of those judged attractive to jobseekers were said to be far too difficult to use.

At some famous high street names, less than 2% of visitors to their recruitment pages complete an application form, equating to a cost of £300 per job applicant.

Peter Gold, managing director of recruitment consultancy Hire Strategies, which commissioned the research, told Personnel Today: “Imagine going to a shopping centre, being unable to find your favourite store on the map, and finding that the people you ask for directions can’t explain how to get there.

“That is how difficult some retailers make it for jobseekers looking for their careers websites.”

The 60% of retailers that researchers gave up with before even trying to apply for jobs were difficult to find on Google and from major careers sites. They also lacked clear information on company culture, diversity policy and corporate social responsibility.

Even those sites that were easy to find and attractive to jobseekers often required candidates to spend hours looking for information on jobs and filling out forms, the researchers found.

“Far too many retailers are not taking e-recruitment seriously, instead no doubt relying on recruitment agencies to fill vacancies,” said Gold. “If HR wants to show real value, and reduce some heavy operational costs, this is an obvious area to concentrate on.”

A British Retail Consortium spokesman said: “Retailers have created half a million new jobs since 1995. Retail has the best record of any sector of offering flexible working and employing people who traditionally find it difficult to get back into work. That confirms they are doing a good job.

“But no retailer would want to lose customers or job applicants because of website failings and they are always looking to improve their sites.”


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