The retail sector continues to be one of the largest employers of women in South Africa, providing both livelihood and income for many families and dependents.
Recruiters and representative bodies of retail workers claim that women occupy a variety of customer-facing positions, however, fewer women hold managerial positions in the retail sector.
The president of the National Union of Retail Workers of South Africa, Victor Legoba, says that of their 1,368 members, the majority work in grocery stores.
He says female members make up 54% who work as cashiers, while about 45% of male members work as drivers and packers.
“You have to remember that Shoprite and Checkers have many departments where those departments are dominated by women. We have daily departments, which are dominated by women. We have cashiers, we have cashier service, and we have fruit and vegetables. These are the departments that are dominated by women.
Staff Link’s recruiting founder, Karin Fivas, says that while there has been a greater demand for women among retailers, men continue to dominate management positions in the industry.
“There is more demand for women in retail. There are well-trained women, but men still hold positions of responsibility. I think some women should have an opportunity.
Woolworths’ 2019 Good Business Journey report shows that women make up 64% of their historically disadvantaged permanent employees.