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, shed the spotlight 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 public’s overall perception of the retail industry.
This came in light of the recent law regulation allowing women to work in the retail sector in the kingdom.
The survey sampled 100 Saudi women between the ages of 18 to 36 years old who were chosen on SRS (Simple Random Sampling) basis. Results demonstrated that 42% accept the idea of women working in the retail sector, while 58% dismissed the idea completely.
31% 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 noted that there are not any success stories in the region, let alone the country, to understand the type of career path they would be undertaking.
Respondents added that the perception of the retail industry must change. 25% said family pressure and acceptance is what holds them back from working in the retail industry and only a mere 5% 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% responded that they had little knowledge of what retail work consists of.
When participants were asked what would be the best option in encouraging women to work in the retail sector, 35% of participants recommended an awareness campaign to portray success stories as well as benefits of working in the retail sector.
A further 33% recommended that laws and legislations are clear to the public and employers regarding work in the retail sector.
19% responded that the choice of working hours (one shift) or part time roles should be adapted.
The survey also highlighted an interesting statistic on the types of stores where women would prefer to work. 37% responded they would work in cosmetic stores, 33% prefer working in clothes stores, followed by 14% in lingerie shops. A total of 16% highlighted that they would be interested in working in either optical stores or furniture departments.
The survey, which interviews numerous HR managers, concludes that an awareness campaign should be launched to recognize those who chose the path into the retail sector as well as 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 5,000SR which offers females a challenging ground to work on”.