Job creation in the South African retail sector

05 Jun 2018

This paper reports on research into retail?s contribution to, and strategies for, job creation, providing an overview of employment in the South African retail industry, and its contribution to job creation. The study focused on skills as visualized by large formal businesses, informal businesses and SMME's, and on the impact of new technologies on employment and skills. A qualitative method was adopted included telephonic depth interviews with senior managers of the ten largest retailers and with student interns. In addition, SMME owners or managers were surveyed via an on-line questionnaire. The study shows that the creation of jobs requires a multi-factor approach, with the external environment playing a vital role. Political and economic factors impact on the creation or shedding of jobs based on supply and demand within the sector, and social factors play a role through support of SMME?s and emerging small businesses. Technology is a key factor, especially online shopping, e-commerce and H PDUNHWLQJ ZKLFKUHGXFHUHWDLOVSDFHQHHGHGDQGWKXVHPSOR\PHQW DQGDOVRLQ?XHQFHZDUHKRXVLQJ and transport logistics. Mechanisation and automation is going to reduce some jobs, but will create other new jobs and careers. The research has dealt with the national challenge of creating sustainable jobs in the important Retail sector, which contributes about 20% of jobs in the South African market, although many are of a casual nature. The study has shown that a comprehensive and viable strategy is crucial for alleviating unemployment in the sector, especially youth unemployment.