Employment costs are the biggest financial issue facing our sector, but along with extrapolating the micro-economic data on jobs, hours and pay, there are broader issues at play.
Our research findings challenge established assumptions. Yes, we have to cope with some turnover of staff, but there are more people who have worked in our businesses for more than five years than there are people who have worked for less than a year.
Yes, many employees contribute the second income to their household, but for more staff their c-store wage is the only or largest income in their household. And yes, some people combine working in a c-store with other jobs, but for most it’s their only employment.
What comes through loud and clear from the research is that just as we are the local shops for our customers, so we are for our colleagues. It takes the average c-store employee just 13 minutes to get to work, incurring a daily travel cost of £1.63.
This all matters when we think about the upcoming deliberations of the Low Pay Commission, and the wider political debate about wages. It paints a picture of local, accessible work for people who need that income and the legal benefits of employment, and who value the flexibility offered by working shifts that can fit around their lives.
We shouldn’t demonise new working models, but celebrate the value of the 370,000 jobs offered in local shops, and urge the Low Pay Commission and other policy-makers to ensure that good employers aren’t forced to make further job cuts in order to stay in business.