Case studies published by retail group show workers can go from 'shop floor to top floor'

A collection of case studies which outline how the retail sector is helping people from all backgrounds progress in their careers has been published.

The British Retail Consortium's (BRC) Retail in Society: Opportunities for All study was released at the group's Annual Parliamentary Reception last week.

It includes a foreword from Alan Milburn, the chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, in which he commends retailers for investing in their employees and offering them opportunities to progress and develop their skills.

Helen Dickinson, who acts as the director general of the consortium, said: "In retail, career progression is based on aptitude and attitude. You really can climb from shop floor to boardroom.

"Retailers are uniquely placed to promote social mobility and help the Government deliver on its growth, jobs and skills priorities, but this shouldn't be taken for granted.

"There has to be a genuine partnership with business and retailers need to be involved in designing new job creation and skills programmes. We must not let our investment in people be stifled by allowing red tape to get in the way."

Retail is the largest private sector employer in the country, employing about three million people, the BRC suggests.

One in every eight households has someone working in retail. It is a popular choice for many because of the ability to work flexible or part-time hours - enabling people to fit things like study and children around work.

The sector provides jobs to 40% of the nation's 16 to 19 year-olds currently in employment and invests an average of 1,275 on training per employee every year.

During the reception in the House of Commons, the Government was urged to work in partnership with retailers to avoid stifling their growth and investment in people with unnecessary red tape.

Speakers at the event included Baroness Shephard of Northwold, the deputy chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, and the BRC chair Ian Cheshire.

Copyright Press Association 2013