Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 404. Updated Tuesday, 08 April 2014

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Changing retail sector needs to ring up skills

The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency has released a new report on the future of the retail industry that highlights significant skills challenges in a sector being transformed by technology.

The retail workforce study Top Content

report found new technologies and changing consumer demand were creating exciting new retail career opportunities and stronger demand for retail skills training.

New report highlights technology impact

The report, produced by the Agency in partnership with the Industry Skills Council, Service Skills Australia, found employment in the retail industry, which already employed over 1.2 million workers across 140,000 businesses, was likely to grow by 8.9 per cent over the next five years.

The report said retail's future lay in offering a seamless mix of physical and online shopping channels and customer experiences; and that its workforce needed higher levels of digital literacy, deeper levels of knowledge on products and more sophisticated interpersonal skills to achieve this.

Chief Executive Officer of Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, Robin Shreeve said retail managers would need new skills in developing innovative business models and high-end ICT solutions.

"This study finds the retail industry is transforming in response to forces such as globalisation; new forms of competition; new technologies and the growth of online sales; and changing economic conditions and consumer preferences," Mr Shreeve said.

"We need to be able to skill up our retail workforce, including retail managers, so they can embrace these changes in a way that is both profitable for businesses and which opens up career pathways and rewarding jobs for workers."

Chief Executive Officer of Service Skills Australia, Jeanette Allen said the Retail workforce study would 'help retail industry leaders recognise how the changing nature of retail is influencing the type of workers and skills required'.

The Retail workforce study report is available online at this PS News link.

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