The Talent Search
By George Anderson
The recent agreement between the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW)
and the big three supermarket chains, Albertsons, Kroger and Safeway, is being
hailed by supporters of the companies as a necessary move to make them more
competitive with non-union operators such as Wal-Mart and Target.
Those disappointed with the agreement see it as the ending to a time when individuals
could make a career and a livable wage working at store-level.
While only time will tell if the negotiated settlement to the longest strike/lockout
in the history of the U.S. grocery industry achieves the goal of supermarket
management, it does raise questions about retail’s ability to attract top talent
from the employment pool.
The retail industry has long sought to portray itself as a place where talented
people in a wide range of professional disciplines could find a personally and
financially rewarding career.
Trade associations have promoted diversity hiring, looking to help members
attract the best and brightest from the full talent pool.
For many, the point of entry into retailing has been store-level.
Today, the reality is new hires can count on making less and being asked to
pay for more medical coverage than the very people they work beside.
Has the retail industry put itself in the competition
for employee talent because of its work and compensation practices? How do companies
find top talent when most of the employment news for the industry appears to
Imagine yourself a new graduate who reads the news about
company laying-off employees and negotiating givebacks from its workers. Does
this sound to you like a good company for you to look and start to build a career
with? – George
Anderson – Moderator