Retail Gazette Loves: Ikea hiring a child to test new toys before they launch

To encourage play and creativity in the home, Ikea is now scouting for a Chief Play Officer to join its ranks. The role is strictly open to children aged 4-12 so no adults allowed!
The role is strictly open to children aged 4-12 only.

As part of its mission to encourage play and creativity in the home, Ikea is scouting for a Chief Play Officer to join its ranks.

Posting the job description on LinkedIn, the furniture retailer said the role is strictly open to children aged 4-12 only.

In other words, no adults will be allowed to take on the role of Chief Play Officer.

For one whole year, the successful candidate will be in charge of testing new toys before they launch in Ikea stores across the UK and Ireland.

“Play is an essential part of everyday life and a basic human right – it allows children to tap into their creativity, relieve stress and spend quality time with friends and family,” Ikea UK children’s business leader Thomas Parker said.

“When it comes to play, Ikea believes the home is the most important playground.

“Space and money should never be a barrier, which is why we offer a vast range of affordable games and activities.

“These allow children to use their imagination through role play, physical activity and creativity, wherever they may be.

“The creation of the Chief Play Officer role puts the focus back on play, and gives the power of creation to those who really know their stuff.”


The news comes as research reveals children are spending an average of 254 hours less playing each year than their parents did at the same age.

What’s more, it seems the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on children’s attitudes towards play, with 59 per cent of kids playing less now than they did before the crisis.

Ikea’s national charity partner Barnardo’s released its sixth annual soft toy collection designed by children, for children, selected through an international drawing competition with all proceeds going to Barnardo’s.

“Play is very important for children’s emotional development,” Barnado’s chief executive Javed Khan said.

“We already know that a third of children and young people experienced an increase of mental health and wellbeing difficulties during lockdown and this year children have had fewer opportunities to play with their friends and maintain vital social connections.”

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