Retailers look further afield to fill key posts after UK recruitment market proves difficult
Fashion retailer New Look is drafting in Polish staff for UK store manager positions to meet recruitment demands at the 500-store chain.

The decision follows that of Tesco, which brought in 140 Poles to work in its supply chain, and highlights the problem that retailers are having finding UK staff to fill frontline positions.

New Look human resources director Robin Lewis has hired four Polish store managers so far and aims to recruit more. Hesaid:'I'minterestedin working with Polish recruits to increase the cultural diversity of New Look. We're looking at store managers, deputy managers and actively searching for buyers and assistant buyers.'

He added that he was so far impressed with the performance of the Polish workers. 'We're finding some great retailing skills, particularly high levels of attention to customer service. The other thing we're impressed with is the expertise in visual merchandising,' he said.

Earlier this year, Tesco drafted in staff from its Polish business because it said it could not find British people willing to do the jobs.

Lewis explained that New Look needed to hire Poles to help complete its own recruitment programme. The chain is targeting Poland in particular, because it considers the retail culture there to be in tune with that of the UK.

PeterBurgess,managing director of recruitment specialist Retail Human Resources, said filling store manager roles in the UK is a tough business at the moment. He said: 'Thereare never enough good peopleto go round. There's a very tight labour market in almost every sector and retail is no exception. The real answer for UK retailers is to train people from within. The industry employs 2.1 million people - it's absurd to suggest we can't train them.'

Shopworkers' union Usdaw said retailers should attempt to recruit staff from the UK before looking abroad.