Strategies to better match job seekers and employers in the retail sector was the focus of a forum held in Melbourne yesterday.
Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker met with the Australian Retailers Association and a number of national employers to identify the key recruitment and workforce challenges facing the retail sector.
"Retail is the second largest employment industry in Australia, employing over 1.2 million people and is forecast to grow by 7.8 per cent in the five years to 2018,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
"This equates to tens of thousands of jobs and represents a huge opportunity for job seekers – especially young job seekers, to enter this varied and growing sector.
"But this growth also involves a significant recruitment challenge for employers across the country.
"Retailers tell me that what counts most in their minds is that potential staff have a good attitude to work and a willingness to help customers – no matter what role they may play.
"As we move towards the start of the new employment services model on 1 July 2015, it is important that we are focused on helping retailers with this workforce challenge and creating as many opportunities for job seekers as possible.
"Our new employment services model provides a range of practical supports to help job seekers and employers including funding for training, work experience and wage subsidies.
"I was delighted with the suggestions of the employers at today’s forum on how to use this support to create real pathways into employment for job seekers.”
The Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association Russell Zimmerman said retailing was not just about sales.
"The retail sector can provide entry-level opportunities for young people and deliver a pathway to a long and varied career,” Mr Zimmerman said.
"Retail offers a diverse range of career choices in areas such as sales, marketing, logistics and management.
"The Australian Retailers Association looks forward to working with the Government and employment providers to better match job seekers and employers so that our members have the workforce they need for the future."
Attending today’s forum were representatives of national retailers, including Gazman, Harrolds, Cotton On, Sussan, Musicland and the Master Grocers Association.