Soft skills and employability: Evidence from UK retail

Nickson, D., Warhurst, C., Commander, J., Hurrell, S. and Cullen, A. M. (2012) Soft skills and employability: Evidence from UK retail. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 33(1), pp. 65-84. (doi: 10.1177/0143831X11427589)

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This article contributes to ongoing debates about soft skills in front-line interactive service work in considering employability in the UK retail sector. It recognizes how UK government policy has emphasized the importance of qualifications in enhancing employability. However, it suggests that for front-line work in retail it is soft skills that are required to access entry-level jobs. The article notes how these soft skills have traditionally been dominated by debates about emotional labour. Drawing on a survey of 173 clothing, footwear and leather goods retailers, the article argues for a need to recognize the broadening of soft skills to also include aesthetic labour. The article concludes by discussing the implications of the broadening of soft skills with regard to policy initiatives to encourage the long-term unemployed into the retail sector.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors acknowledge and thank the Nuffield Foundation for funding the research on which this article is based.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hurrell, Dr Scott
Authors: Nickson, D., Warhurst, C., Commander, J., Hurrell, S., and Cullen, A. M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Economic and Industrial Democracy
ISSN (Online):1461-7099

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