How retailers can upgrade their employee value propositions image

The retail sector has been subject to huge pressures and changes over the past years, from closures during the pandemic to the rise of ecommerce and home delivery. As the industry regains its stability, retailers are recognising that much has changed when it comes to the talent landscape and – crucially – taking a fresh look at their employee value propositions (EVPs).

Your EVP is the full offering you make to potential candidates and current staff, from salary and company culture, to benefits and perks. In this candidate-short market like this, we at Michael Page Retail are working closely with clients to help them develop their EVP strategies. 

To find out what the key elements of an EVP in retail are, we surveyed hundreds of retail professionals. Here, we'll pick out some the key findings and actionable insights.

Pull factors: What secures retail talent?

When evaluating your EVP, it’s important to create effective pull factors – attributes and offerings which bring fresh talent into your workforce. These should appeal to individuals who are already looking for new opportunities, or who may be uncertain about whether they should stay in their existing roles.

We're all aware of the financial pull factors like salary and bonuses – and you can learn more about the latest salary trends in our 2023 Guide to Salaries and Hiring Strategy in Retail. But that’s not enough to build a truly effective EVP. Benefits, perks, and more abstract considerations like company culture and relationships with co-workers also play a massive part in attracting and keeping retail stars.

Desired job attributes

When we asked retail respondents to select the issues that were most important to them in the workplace, they differed from the average across all sectors in several significant ways:

  • 78% selected good work-life balance, 14% more than average
  • 59% selected good colleague relationships, 8% above average
  • 20% selected clear progression opportunities, 10% below average

In addition, 57% chose job security, 48% chose a sense of purpose, and 33% said they wanted to work for a company which reflected with their own values.

If you are planning to hire in 2023 it’s worth making sure that your EVP is taking into account high demand in the sector for all these factors. And of course, be sure to communicate this throughout the hiring journey, from the job advert to onboarding.  


Benefits are a little more concrete than some of the areas discussed above, but they are not necessarily directly financial. For instance, we found holidays to be of high importance for retail respondents - 67% said they want a minimum of 28 days' paid holiday a year, 15% higher than the all-sector average.

Meanwhile, just 35% look for remote working opportunities, compared to an average of 43%. This may reflect the nature of the retail sector, in which a significant amount of work is carried out on the shop floor or in-person in the back office.

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Cash-savvy retail workers were significantly more likely to appreciate local discount schemes, with 41% considering this an appealing perk, compared with just 26% across all industries.

Some other popular perks among retail workers include:

  • Early closing on a Friday (Selected by 42%)
  • Training opportunities (34%)
  • A well-designed workplace (24%)

While it may not suit all retail businesses to close on a Friday afternoon, it's worth considering more flexible scheduling of staff, in order to give employees some extra personal time once in a while.

Push Factors: What makes retail workers leave?

Just as important as the factors that help retailers attract top talent are those that could cause employees to leave. We found five push factors with a prevalence of more than 20% of the retail workforce:

  • Feeling undervalued (26%)
  • Worsening conditions (25%)
  • Feeling underpaid (24%)
  • Feeling stressed (22%)
  • Job not as expected (22%)

On average, it took 22 months for retail workers to feel the urge to leave, slightly higher than the overall average of 19.3 months among our survey respondents. This is good news for employee retention, but may make it more difficult to recruit retail professionals who are happy with the job security they already have, elevating the importance of a robust EVP during hiring processes.  

What's next?

Whether you’re looking to boost your retention or upgrade your talent acquisition, creating an EVP which appeals to the modern retail professional will be key to your efforts. This is something which requires forward planning, a top down direction, and bottom up contributions from the workforce too. 

Whatever your talent needs, we have a team on hand to help. Our Page Consulting team specialises in workforce planning and helping organisations build their EVPs. When it comes to hiring, we have retail-specific teams operating across multiple levels of the job market: 

Michael Page for middle management roles.
Page Personnel for business/technical support and clerical roles. 
Page Executive for executive level roles. 
Page Outsourcing for custom volume hiring solutions.  

To discuss your hiring needs, contact us today

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