Less than half of those working in the UK retail sector saw their salaries rise in the 16 months following the recession, but almost two-thirds of the E-tail & Multichannel sector received an improvement in pay during that period.
New research shows that while many of those working in retail have seen their pay frozen or reduced since January 2010, employees representing e-commerce businesses are being rewarded more than most.
Some 64 per cent of people working for e-tailers or multichannel firms received a pay rise in the 16 months in question, compared to 48 per cent of retail workers as a whole, suggesting that it was companies with a strong online presence driving industry growth.
The Retail Eyes-Retail Gazette Salary Survey 2011, which questioned 1,120 retail industry employees in April 2011, found that one-fifth of E-tail & Multichannel staff were on much higher salaries than they were in January 2010, but only 11 per cent of workers across all areas of retail received more than just a slight pay increase over the survey period.
As e-tail companies such as online fashion house Asos.com and entertainment giant Amazon continue to enter new global territories and experience year-on-year sales growth, it is perhaps no surprise that employees within the sector are benefiting financially. But this is in stark contrast to other sectors of the industry.
A total of 38 per cent retail workers saw their pay frozen in the 16 months post recession, while 14 saw it worsen.
Consumers have increasingly tightened their purse strings when it comes to purchasing big ticket items for their properties and gardens, and Home & DIY retailers have struggled for their share of shoppers’ disposable incomes as a result.
This is reflected in the levels of pay within the sector, with just 38 per cent of Home & DIY staff receiving pay rises in the 16-month period and a substantial 17 per cent of respondents from this sector experiencing significantly reduced pay packets during that time.
Retail Gazette’s research also shows that 42 per cent of the retail industry professionals surveyed were paid annual salaries under £25,000 and only two per cent of the industry earned over £100,000. Additionally, almost half of those questioned did not see any change to their perks and bonuses.
Editor of Retail Gazette Ben Sillitoe argues that although retail is typically seen as a low-paying industry and slow pay growth has been the norm across all business areas in the last 16 months, retailers must keep their staff motivated otherwise they face even greater difficulty in trying to encourage shoppers to spend.
“There is considerable pressure on retailers’ margins across the industry and it is perhaps no surprise they have held back from boosting pay,” he explains.
“But businesses must understand that content and sufficiently-rewarded staff will be essential to have on board as they battle against the choppy post-recession tides.”