Maximising women's potential in the UK's retail sector

Harris, L., Foster, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-2462-5155 and Whysall, P. ORCID: 0000-0001-9905-599X, 2007. Maximising women's potential in the UK's retail sector. Employee Relations, 29 (5), pp. 492-505. ISSN 0142-5455

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Purpose – A defining characteristic of the UK retail sector is the high number of women it employs but there remains an enduring under-representation of women in its management positions. The majority of women in the industry work part-time and this paper explores the factors that impact upon the career progression. Approach – One thousand questionnaires were completed by store staff in three leading retailers supported by interviews with store staff and SME retailers in the UK’s East Midlands region. Findings – The study revealed continuing barriers to career progression for women working part-time in retailing. Despite family friendly employment policies becoming an increasingly important feature of modern work organisations, career progression was informed by a traditional concept of a career based on full-time working. Research Limitations - the study was limited to one sector, there is a need for further studies into women’s career progression in other sectors reliant on female employment. Practical implications - the findings have implications for promotion policies, training and development provision and line management practices if retailers are to maximise the potential of the women they employ. Originality/Value – The findings, based on both quantitative and qualitative data, suggest that retailing is an industry where a significant number of women are working below their potential despite organisational policies supportive of diversity and equality of opportunity.

Item Type: Journal article
Description: Post-print
Publication Title: Employee Relations
Creators: Harris, L., Foster, C. and Whysall, P.
Publisher: Emerald
Place of Publication: Bradford
Date: 2007
Volume: 29
Number: 5
ISSN: 0142-5455
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:34
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 10:59

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