JEDDAH — A recent study conducted by ALWANE, a recently established regional coalition of experienced and emerging leaders from 17 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, revealed that 16 percent of Saudi women anticipate working in furniture and optical stores.
Focusing on Saudi women working in the retail industry, the study done in partnership with women empowerment hub GLOWORK, Harvey Nichols Riyadh and KPMG, highlighted the overall perception of the retail industry from the public.
The survey also highlighted an interesting statistic on what type of stores do women prefer to work in. Thirty seven percent responded they would work in cosmetic stores, 33 percent prefer working in clothes stores, followed by 14 percent in lingerie shops. A total of 16 percent highlighted that they would be interested in working in either optical stores or furniture departments.
Thirty-one percent of respondents from across the Kingdom highlighted lack of awareness of what the retail sector actually is as a main concern in working in the retail sector. Respondents mentioned there are not any success stories in the region let alone the country to understand the sort of career path they would be undertaking and the perception of the retail industry must change.
Twenty-five percent said family pressure and acceptance is what holds them back from working in the retail industry and only a mere 5 percent mentioned that transportation was an issue in accepting a retail job. The survey also asked participants to share their knowledge about the retail sector, 42 percent responded that they had little knowledge of what retail work pertains.
When participants were asked what would be the best option in encouraging women to work in the retail sector, 35 percent of participants recommended an awareness campaign to portray success stories as well as benefits of working in the retail sector. A further 33 percent recommended that laws and legislations are clear to the public and employers regarding work in the retail sector. Nineteen percent responded that the choice of working hours (one shift) or part time roles should be adapted.
The survey, which interviews numerous HR managers, concludes that an awareness campaign should be launched to thank those who chose the path into the retail sector and also highlight the success stories that have happened during the past year.
Khalid Alkhudair, AlWANE country officer and Glowork founder, said "there are a lot of good stories on the ground, L’oreal for instance sends all their new joiners to Italy for two weeks intensive training, and their salaries start at SR5,000 which offers females a challenging ground to work on." — SG