Innovations and Evolution of Employment in the Food Retail Sector in France

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW1.3.04 (Tower One)
Catherine de GERY, NOVANCIA Business School Paris, Paris, France
Enrico Colla, NOVANCIA Business School Paris, Paris, France
Maria Eugenia Ruiz, Université de Valence, Valence, Spain
Retail is an important sector of the economy providing a substantial number of jobs, but, in France, rates of growth in the sector have been slowing down over the last few years. This is a worrying phenomenon in terms of perspectives for employment and, as such, is worth exploring.

The food retail sector in France has recently lost some of its dynamism. At the same time, the sector is going through a profound process of transformation, subject as it is to the influence of technological innovations; the globalization of the economy; demographic evolutions including increased longevity; societal evolutions (in relations between men and women, in the composition of families); the scarcity of energy resources; and rules and regulations introduced by national, and even supranational legislation (Dawson 2001, Gratton 2011, Colla 2005, 2008).

Due to these influences, over the course of the last few years increasingly fewer hypermarkets have been opened and the sector as a whole is segmenting and fragmenting into a multiplicity of formats of different sizes, each of them proposing different types of offer.

The traditional mass model based on low prices and rapid rotation is gradually giving way to new approaches in which marketing, service delivery, customer satisfaction and the promotion of client loyalty are increasingly segmented and, at the same time, increasingly important.

These new models, along with the structural modifications currently being implemented in the sector, have important consequences in terms of the evolution and structure of employment and of new demands for skills and qualifications of the labour force. It is important to analyze those consequences in order to understand the evolution of labour demand in the sector (the needs of companies) and to compare that evolution with the offer available on the labour market in the coming years.

The research questions to which this paper intends to suggest what, in view of the exploratory nature of our work, are provisional answers, are as follows:

1) How has employment in the retail food sector evolved, and how can the reduction of the number of jobs in the sector in recent years be explained?

2) What has been the impact of the evolution and transformation of outlets in the food retail sector, and how has the emergence of new formats influenced the structure and nature of jobs? In particular, how have needs for qualifications, for training,  full-time and part-time jobs, and the jobs of men and women been impacted?