AffiliationNottingham Trent University
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AbstractPurpose – 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.
CitationHARRIS, L., FOSTER, C. and WHYSALL, P., 2007. Maximising women's potential in the UK's retail sector. Employee Relations, 29 (5), pp. 492-505.