Warehouse adopts 'career retailer wage'

Last updated 10:04 07/05/2013

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The Warehouse has announced pay increases for thousands of trained staff with more than three years' experience in a bid to encourage them to choose retailing as a career.

The ''career retailer wage'' will be introduced for staff working in the red sheds, Warehouse Stationery and Noel Leeming - which The Warehouse bought last year.

Qualifying staff will have their wages bumped up to anywhere between $18.50 and $20 per hour - giving them on average an extra $50 to $100 per week.

The Warehouse Group chief executive Mark Powell said the move would cost the company an extra $2 million to $2.5m in 2014 and in 2015.

But ''the impact on company profits is expected to be less due to increased team engagement, lower team turnover, improved sales and higher productivity'', he said.

To qualify for the career retailer wage employees must have completed all the required training levels for a role, and have about three years' experience - or logged more than 5000 hours.

Powell said contrary to the perception of many, the group traditionally paid above the minimum wage and in recent years had moved up wage rates ahead of inflation.

"Highly engaged teams are more motivated to serve customers well, and in retail if you don't serve the customer well you will ultimately fail, that's the competitive reality - while having an engaged team is about much more than just pay, pay is a significant factor.''

The introduction of the new wage - partly influenced by the Living Wage campaign which championed a wage of at least $18.40 an hour - would influence people into choosing a career with The Warehouse Group, he said.

''It will also help retain, reward and recognise our existing team members who have chosen a long term career within the group.''

The company was looking into other initiatives to promote retail as a career and improve training, including NZQA accredited programmes to develop future leaders in retailing.

"Unfortunately, far too often retail is seen as a second rate career choice. We want to change that view.''

The group plans to introduce the new wage in two stages - on August 1 this year and August 1 next year - the beginning of the company's 2014 and 2015 financial years respectively. 

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- BusinessDay.co.nz


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