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Women and the Australian retail industry

May 04, 2016

The Australian retail industry continues to be a key employer of women, providing a variety of opportunities in both sales, and non-sales roles, according to a recent report prepared by the National Retail Association (NRA).

The report highlights the significant contribution made by women across the industry and gives particular attention to the wide variety of roles available to women across all stages of their working life.

In particular, retail performs a critical role in providing many young women with their first exposure to paid employment.

For many years, retail has been the largest employer of women aged under twenty-five, and at present employs more than one quarter (26.7 per cent) of all women in this age group. As the report suggests, this is significant, as for many young women, retail will be the industry where they will learn and develop key employability skills such as team work, communication, and active learning.

In addition to this, the report also highlights the many opportunities that exist for women in the retail industry across non-sales roles, away from the shop floor. Specifically, research conducted by the NRA indicates that the more than 11,000 women are currently employed in key, professional roles across the Australian retail industry including positions in accounting, human resources, legal, as well as advertising, marketing and public relations.

Further the report also highlights that the industry has one of the highest proportions of women in managerial positions with more than forty percent of full-time managers being females. Significantly, more than 1,700 of these women are employed as either a CEO or Managing Director, highlighting that there are also clear career paths in the retail industry for women wanting to progress into senior leadership roles as either an executive or company director.

The report also addresses the issue of parenting, maternity leave, and the opportunities available in the retail industry for women wanting to return to the workforce following time spent caring for a child. In particular, the report highlights specific issues relating to workplace discrimination experienced by women that work during pregnancy, as well as employee entitlements associated with maternity leave.

To access a copy of the full report, please click here.

Cameron Meiklejohn, Industry Research & Data Analyst

To discuss issues relating to workplace discrimination, leave entitlements, or other issues associated with creating a supportive, and flexible work environment for parents, please contact NRA Legal on 1800 738 245.

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