Nearly half of retail workers will request raise if not offered one

employeeMore retail workers are set to receive raises this year but fewer will receive bigger rises as tough market conditions and the need to invest in innovation weigh on the minds of retail employers.

According to recruitment firm Hays two-thirds (66 per cent) of retail employers plan on giving their staff a pay rise this year of less than three per cent, while ten per cent will not provide an increase at all, compared to 14 per cent last year.

But just four per cent will provide an increase of six per cent or more, compared to seven per cent of employers last year.

Almost half (48 per cent) say they will request a pay rise if they are not offered one – up from 45 per cent last year.

The Institute of Management’s 2017-18 salary survey has revealed that wage growth in retail will be the fourth slowest among 13 industry categories – the business and professional services sector is set to experience a 3.9 per cent increase in wages.

Unsurprisingly there’s a gap between employer plans and employee expectations – 18 per cent of retail workers expect an increase of six per cent or more.

Employees also said they are prioritising pay rises, with two thirds of respondents to the Hays survey saying a salary increase is their number one career priority in 2018-19.

“The 2017-18 financial year witnessed steady growth across Australia’s retail sector, with a number of businesses producing strong results, particularly over the Christmas period, and international brands entering the local market,” said David Cawley, regional director of Hays retail.

“Confidence consequently returned to retail professionals and consumers alike and led to competition for store and head office talent.

But a tightening labour market hasn’t led to salary pressure, with candidates more focused on opportunities to expand their skills and move into hybrid digital roles in the fast-changing industry.

The Institute of Management’s 2017-18 salary survey found that salaries in the retail sector will increase by 2.61 per cent in

The exception has been those with prior experience or qualification in e-commerce or digital marketing, which is in increasingly high demand among retailers.

A skill shortage of merchandise planners has also allowed those with digital skills to negotiate higher wages, leading Hays to predict an increase in counter offers for top talent in the area in 2018-19.

Retail employers are also changing the way they structure their teams, Cawley said, moving to team-based payment structures to reduce internal competition.

“A major change for Sales Assistants and Assistant Store Managers is the move to a team-based commission structure so as to reduce competition between staff. Retailers now offer a more attractive base salary and guaranteed commission, as well as a collaborative working environment,” he said.

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