Productivity and pay: public hearings programme

Hearing 1. The changing retail landscape: what does it mean for the workforce?

5 May 2016

Listen to a recording of Hearing 1 here.

The retail landscape is shifting dramatically. New online stores and platforms are disrupting the traditional bricks and mortar model of retail. Customer expectations are shifting quickly with a growing a demand for retailers to provide goods and services quicker and cheaper with no compromise on quality. The introduction of the National Living Wage means we are moving away from an era of plentiful supply of cheap labour, and the increasing affordability of new technologies provides new opportunities to augment, or even replace, retail jobs.

Taskforce members Norman Pickavance, Julie Abraham and Jill Rubery were joined by Samad Massood (Open Innovation Lead UK & Ireland, Accenture), Yulia O’Mahony (Sector Lead Pay and Productivity, John Lewis Partnership) and Robin Winstanley (Project Manager, IKEA) to discuss what these changes mean for the workforce.

Hearing 2. Good work in the future retail industry: how can employers boost productivity and pay?

25 May 2016

Listen to a recording of Hearing 2 here.

While some retailers are responding to the changing landscape by scaling down their bricks and mortar stores, reducing staff numbers and squeezing ever more efficiencies out of their supply chains, others are providing more innovative responses to the changing landscape. And many are thriving as a result.

Taskforce members Norman Pickavance and Jill Rubery were joined by Anna Gowdridge (Head of People, Virgin Unite), Paul Hunter (Head of Research, the Smith Institute), Tess Lanning (Head of Business Development, Living Wage Foundation), Dan Murphy (Partner, Kurt Salmon) and Patrick Brione (Head of Policy and Research, IPA) to discuss innovative approaches to boosting pay and productivity in the retail industry.

Hearing 3. Progressive employment policy: what is the role of government in supporting a more productive, higher paying retail industry?

2 August 2016

Listen to a recording of Hearing 3 here.

The demise of a number of national retail chains in recent months, as well as government policies like the national living wage and the apprenticeship levy, has placed the role of government in the retail sector’s spotlight in recent months. The government also faces a challenge to support emerging retailers to thrive while improving labour productivity and working conditions in UK retail.

Taskforce members Norman Pickavance, Julie Abraham, Jill Rubery and Fiona Wilson were joined by Joanne Cairns (Senior Researcher, Usdaw) and Conor D’Arcy (Policy Analyst, Resolution Foundation) to discuss the role of government in the changing retail landscape.  Unfortunately Bill Grimsey (former CEO, Wickes, Focus and Iceland) and Lesley Smith (Director of Public Policy UK & Ireland, Amazon) were both unable to make it on the day but are feeding in to the inquiry separately.