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Understanding skills and performance challenges in the wholesale and retail sector

The vision of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills is to create the best opportunities for the talents and skills of people to drive competitiveness and growth. By having informed intelligence about the labour market, businesses and people can make informed decisions on skills and careers. Developing a deep understanding of the skills and performance challenges facing the UK economy now, and in the future, is integral to this vision. The wholesale and retail sector is an important contributor to the UK economy and has been successful in achieving growth and remaining competitive, despite the economic downturn. However, changes in technological advancements have created many challenges which in turn have consequences for the sector’s skills supply and needs, and impact upon workforce development strategies. The aim of this research was to investigate the skills requirements of the wholesale and retail sector in relation to a number of key themes and associated drivers of change (as listed below). Six themes were initially identified by UKCES along with the drivers of change, were refined through the research. The study involved a detailed literature review, data analysis and a series of depth interviews with employers and stakeholders.