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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Title: Soft skills and employability: Evidence from UK retail
Authors: Nickson, Dennis
Warhurst, Chris
Commander, Johanna
Hurrell, Scott
Cullen, Ann Marie
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Keywords: Aesthetic labour
emotional labour
entry-level jobs
interactive service work
long-term unemployed
Issue Date: Feb-2012
Publisher: SAGE Publications / Uppsala University, Sweden, Department of Economic History
Citation: Nickson D, Warhurst C, Commander J, Hurrell S & Cullen AM (2012) Soft skills and employability: Evidence from UK retail, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 33 (1), pp. 65-84.
Abstract: This article contributes to ongoing debates about soft skills in front-line interactive service work in considering employability in the UK retail sector. It recognizes how UK government policy has emphasized the importance of qualifications in enhancing employability. However, it suggests that for front-line work in retail it is soft skills that are required to access entry-level jobs. The article notes how these soft skills have traditionally been dominated by debates about emotional labour. Drawing on a survey of 173 clothing, footwear and leather goods retailers, the article argues for a need to recognize the broadening of soft skills to also include aesthetic labour. The article concludes by discussing the implications of the broadening of soft skills with regard to policy initiatives to encourage the long-term unemployed into the retail sector.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: University of Strathclyde
University of Sydney
University of Strathclyde
University of Strathclyde

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