The Guernsey Retail Group is asking the States to provide greater funding for childcare and offer parental leave benefits which would allow more local Islanders back into the workplace and help address the shortages of labour in the sector.
The Guernsey Retail Group (GRG), which represents retail, believes that increasing the size of the local workforce – and thus more people paying into the tax and social security system – would improve productivity and boost Guernsey’s economy. This follows confirmation last week that the UK is to extend free childcare to
30 hours per week to address a national recruitment crisis and ease the financial strain on parents.
Korinne Le Page (pictured), Head of Retail Development, said: ‘We have calculated that there are currently 200 retail vacancies in Guernsey which we believe could be filled through encouraging and supporting Islanders to either enter or recommence working in the sector.
“The UK’s landmark announcement, which Jersey is also considering, means parents of all children aged nine months to five years would receive free childcare, allowing them to return to the workforce and bring their skills into the community. If the same policy was adopted here, it could make a real difference to many sectors locally, including retail.”
The GRG has also referenced the recent speech by PwC’s Chief Strategist, Leyla Yildirim, on the issue and importance of encouraging more female participation in the workforce, enabling them to return to work if they wish. This was estimated to benefit the local economy through a 5-6% increase in GDP, i.e. £190m.
Ms Le Page added: “We are fully aware from the recent tax review that there are to be fiscal restraints so it must be seen as an absolute priority to address the prediction of fewer people paying into the tax system by 2040 and make it easier for women in particular to return to work.
“Retail as a career, also offers a range of offering varied and fulfilling opportunities, so everything from sales to buying, marketing to store management, merchandising, window dressing along with non-customer facing opportunities. Roles can also be flexible, suiting both part-time and full-time.”