Women are facing the biggest brunt of our dwindling economy, with glossy’s like In Style, Glamour and Look magazine disappearing off newsstands, and retail jobs turning scarce. Already this year, the UK is preparing to face closures at Toys R US, Mothercare and Poundworld. Figures from 2016, show 70% of people with job losses on the high street, are women.
Men are having better luck
Decades after online shopping launched, consumers are still indecisive on what items to buy online. Clothing has gained our trust, along with books and entertainment, but garden supplies, furniture, cars, building materials and home furnishings are perplexing products.
Published in Forbes, US data suggests these departments are selling better than clothing and accessories. These areas are male dominated. The Washington Post further backs this statement, with its article on “women losing retail jobs while men are gaining them”.
Despite women applying for male-driven retail jobs, men come out on top. My local shopping mall is abundant with men working in technology, fitness, and homeware stores. Females manage to find some luck in lingerie and cosmetics, but these can offer lower commission.
Retail jobs provide working mums with flexibility
There’s a snobbish stigma attached to working on a shop floor. When I worked at a cosmetics counter, my friend told me to lie when heading out to ‘the city’ – a place in London where bankers earn their living. Retail provides a similar or higher pay to many standard office salaries, however it’s a faux-pas to many after a certain age.
Shops are considered your starting point, where you go as a teenager to help fund your living while in education. Be that as it may, an occupation in shop-trading provides a fast ladder to managerial opportunities, which can come with fantastic pay.
Importantly, we need to move past judgement, because retail is crucial to women. Working mums are able to have flexibility and can find a better balance between home and work life. I always loved that my store’s long opening hours, meant I had a choice between an early finish or a late start – perfect when staying up late.
Should we support women by staying offline?
This piece in The Independent, speaks of “youth-focused online retailers” such as Missguided and Boohoo, taking away from the high street market. Online shopping is convenient and crowd-free, but are we really okay to let an institution vanish?
I love heading into my local town and browsing the shops. It takes me back to childhood, and there’s an appreciation at seeing your clothes up close, being there to pay, and then walking around with your bag feeling good about your purchase. Online shopping is so quick and fleeting – what did I last buy, I’m not quite sure.
Online shopping is a huge factor for the death of the high-street. There’s additionally the increase on rent and parking tickets. Free delivery over a certain amount, seems kinder than £3 or £4 for a few hours shopping – possibly empty-handed.
You also have to look at the demand for fast-fashion. Online is continually updating collections at budget prices. Then there’s the customer service itself. Perhaps if management put emphasis on caring about the shop floor workers and teaching how better to approach people, customers would find more reason to head out.
How do you feel about the decline of retail jobs and the high street? Do you do most of your shopping online?