Developer Hammerson has set up a scheme to help tenants recruit. Sara McCorquodale reports.

Managers of new stores are being greeted with an avalanche of applications when they advertise vacancies at the moment.

Recognising this, property developer Hammerson has set up an employment service that runs parallel to its retail developments. Free of charge, it ensures tenants have a pool of talent to choose from that will suit their stores.

The company worked with retailers to recruit the 2,075 employees needed for Highcross in Leicester and the 3,780 for Bristol’s Cabot Circus. The service was further developed with the opening of Union Square in Aberdeen and officially named Jobs for U. More than 100 local people completed its pre-employment training programme, 15,000 registered with its website and 80% of the centre’s tenants used the service when recruiting.

In addition to getting candidates job-ready by ensuring they have the right skills and confidence, Jobs For U informs the local community about the opportunities that are available in Hammerson’s centres.

Hammerson community manager Michelle Dawson has been working on this scheme for five years. She says the developer is helping to ensure that potential recruits are prepared and enthusiastic about a career in retail. “We also generate interest in the types of job available and the range of retailers we are working with,” she says.

She adds: “Retailers need employees with the right skills and information to start working for them straight away.

“Candidates work on their interpersonal skills with us and we help them understand what the retailer is looking for. We work very closely with the retailers, so we know what type of person they are looking to recruit. We think of their brand and how they want to represent this.”

Hammerson’s recruitment scheme also aims to provide employment opportunities in the communities it wants to see coming into its centres to shop. Those
managing it go out into the community and make sure people are informed about employment opportunities through local job fairs.

People who have not worked for an extended period of time are given the training they need to excel in the industry. Dawson says: “It’s about giving people access to employment and making a positive impact on their lives.”

The figures speak for themselves. Most retailers in Hammerson’s schemes are using the service and the developer is helping to bring new talent into the industry.

Job creation

  •            Highcross in Leicester created 2,075 jobs in the community – 141 of these positions were filled by 16- to 19-year-olds not in employment or education
  •            Cabot Circus created 3,780 jobs in retail and leisure – 75% of these jobs went to people aged between 16 and 25 years old. 50% of the jobs were filled by local people who were previously unemployed
  •            Union Square in Aberdeen is still appointing staff but 80% of retailers are using Hammerson’s Jobs For U service to find their workforce