Sector skills council Skillsmart Retail presses for management training investment despite workforce decline

Skillsmart Retail has called for employers to invest in management training to stay competitive, following suggestions that the number of people working in the sector is set to fall.

Richard Hyman, managing director of retail think tank Verdict Consulting, said that 100,000 jobs in the retail industry would be cut by 2010.

However, Skillsmart Retail, the sector skills council for retail, insisted that the industry is still the biggest private sector employer in the UK, employing three million people, and continues to flourish through large new developments around the country.

Karen Charlesworth, head of research at Skillsmart, said: “Our own research shows us that retail jobs may well fall in the coming months, but we do not see the future as doom and gloom for those working, or looking to work in the sector.”

Skillsmart Retail urged employers not to cut back on looking for skilled new employees, to help the industry improve its performance.

“Our Sector Skills Agreement which was published last year showed that the sector needs a new injection of skilled managers if it is to remain competitive and avoid a skills shortfall,” Charlesworth added.

“Though the sector may be going through a tough time at present, it is vital that retailers continue to invest in training their managers in order to ensure that they remain competitive in years to come,” she said.

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