The National Retail Federation will announce a new initiative to broaden and enhance perceptions of the industry beyond providing consumers with products. NRF’s This is Retail: Careers, Community, Innovation campaign, will highlight the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities at home and abroad, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay will announce the campaign and address students and top retail executives from companies such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, One Kings Lane, The Hudson Bay Company, and Tory Burch during his remarks at the Global Retailing Conference in Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, Shay sent a letter to Capitol Hill to highlight the importance of the initiative and to encourage larger discussions about the impact retail has on the economy, consumers, and American jobs.
“Our industry has a perception problem, and we need to address it head on. We will counter the myths about our industry with research and stories that show the true face of retail. That, in fact, retail offers richly rewarding and diverse career opportunities, is central to communities, big and small, and that retail is at the forefront of innovation. By fundamentally transforming the perception of retail, we will ensure the industry continues to thrive and grow,” Shay says.
In an effort to raise awareness about the career opportunities that exist in the retail industry and highlight what young adults are looking for in a job, NRF today also released new research that sheds light on why NRF is undertaking the task of broadening the perceptions that exist about the retail industry.
In general, the research shows that the average young adult values aspects of community, innovation, and prosperous career opportunities when considering a company as a potential employer. One-quarter (25.3 percent) of 18-24 year olds say companies whose mission and values match their own is important to them when considering a future employer, and about 1 in 5 (18.2 percent) say that having a reputation for giving back to the community is important. Additionally, nearly four in 10 (38.9 percent) say that learning a new or innovative technology is an experience and skill they’d want to gain at their first “real” job.
“Retail offers what young adults value in a career—yet too few are buying into the opportunities that exist; we want retail to be the first place young adults shop for a career,” says Shay. “Retail helps push boundaries in innovation, it brings good to people across the world through charitable actions, it is the foundation of every main street in America, and it offers life-long careers in areas such as real estate, software development, private investigating, and even animal training and photography. Retail is about telling that story.”
The survey also examines the job priorities of college students who have already or are currently pursuing a career in retail. According to these students, the number-one reason they’re interested in retail for a career is because it’s “exciting compared to other industries” (70.2 percent). Students are also strongly drawn to the leadership opportunities in the industry (43.6 percent) and the work/life balance they can find with a career in retail (26 percent).
A centerpiece of the campaign is an interactive site, which will fully launch in June with dynamic, original content, the latest industry news, retail case studies, and research.
The campaign will also be marked by significant investments in grassroots, social media, and communications, including:
•A This is Retail Road Show and calendar of events that will include thought-leadership from industry insiders on how changing the perception of retail is critical to growth
•The release of new, original research that explores trends within community-building, retail innovation and what young people are looking for as they enter the job market
•Unique social media crowd-sourcing initiatives, with heavy emphasis on gathering creative content and stories
•New grassroots initiatives to enhance policy-makers’ understanding of the industry, including retail roundtables in targeted congressional districts
•National advertising in multiple media including print, digital, and radio.
As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities at home and abroad, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.