Retail salaries take siesta

Retail professionals’ salaries aren’t moving much – pretty much in line with store sales performances.

According to the 2012 Hays Salary Guide just released, retail professionals can expect only a moderate salary increase this year as current market conditions remain challenging.

The survey found that one in three (35 per cent) of retail employers increased salaries last year between three and six per cent. 

And 38 per cent of retail employers intend to increase salaries between three and six per cent when they next review.

Hays also found the arrival of candidates coming into the market from overseas is keeping salaries stable.

Carolyn Dickason, regional director of Hays Retail, said there is no silver bullet over the horizon to wait for retail trading conditions to improve.

“Current conditions are here to stay for some time, so the sooner we can adapt business practices to meet the requirements of this – the ‘new normal’ – rather than waiting for a dramatic reversal to the global market to set us on a more secure road, the more effective we’ll all be,” she observed.

“That’s why forward-thinking employers and candidates are going ahead with their hiring or career plans. It’s also why employers are increasing salaries, albeit moderately.”

The 2012 Hays Salary Guide – available online for download – details salary and recruiting trends in Sydney and Melbourne and was based on a survey of over 1500 employers as well as placements made by Hays Retail.

It found that while 35 per cent of retail employers increased salaries last year between three and six per cent, only seven per cent gave an increase above six per cent. But 49 per cent gave increases of less than three percent, while the final nine per cent gave no increase at all.

Looking ahead, 38 per cent of retail employers intend to increase salaries between three and six per cent when they next review. A further four per cent will increase above six per cent. But 46 per cent of employers intend to increase salaries less than three per cent and 12 per cent intend to offer no increases when they next review.

“Australia’s retail landscape will be full of contrast in the year ahead; we will see further redundancies but they will be balanced by great opportunities in start-ups or SMEs that are growing and non-fashion retailers that are expanding,” said Dickason.

“Several trends will also continue to impact the retail market over the coming year. The first of these is the trend of streamlining to make the Australian market more competitive. The second is the strong demand for Buyers and Planners, which outstrips supply.

“In response to the shortage of candidates, employers are turning to professionals from overseas and we have seen many successful international hires from the UK, US and South Africa.

“As a result of candidates coming into the market from overseas, salaries are remaining stable. The exception occurs in those few larger retailers with outstanding employee value propositions and where remuneration is considerably higher than many other retail businesses. In order to attract quality candidates, the salaries being paid for Buyers and Planners will continue to creep up over the next 12 months in these organisations,” Dickason said.

“Another trend has been the demand for quality Store Managers and senior professionals, who are in short supply. But rather than increase salaries, retailers are instead attempting to attract candidates without addressing salary levels.

“Australia’s online retail market continues to expand. Here the skills shortage in buying is emphasised due to the lack of experienced branded Buyers in the market, and we expect to see salary increases in this area in future.

“The big box retailers have invested in their staff and their development. As a result their employee tenure is much higher and people are encouraged to have a long lasting career in retail. This is leading to stronger candidates in the big box area and salaries have correspondingly increased.

“Looking ahead, Australia’s retail employment market will remain active as roles within buying and planning remain pivotal to profitability within a retail business. The candidate shortage in these areas looks set to remain therefore strategies for recruiting from overseas, such as the UK, will be highly beneficial. Operationally, roles on the front line of retail will be of high importance. Therefore replacing movers as well as recruiting for new store openings will certainly be areas of activity. Salaries will remain steady, and employers will continue to develop new strategies to attract and secure skilled professionals.”

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