Abuse in the retail and hospitality industry continues to increase, with over 800,000 incidents of verbal abuse reported in the 2022 ACS Crime Report and 35,216 violent incidents estimated in the sector. Workers are reporting that these types of negative experiences are contributing to their decision to leave a job.
27% of retail and hospitality workers worry about their safety at least once every week
57% are concerned about facing aggression from customers
42% say they have received verbal or physical abuse from the public
One in four do not want to take a role that involves face-to-face contact with the public, with 62% citing safety concerns among the reasons for that
50% of them would consider a more front-line role if equipped with safety tech
As retail and hospitality businesses across the UK face increased pressure on recruitment and retention, employee safety, including perceptions around safety and employee peace of mind, are very real obstacles in these areas.
And although the study found that many UK businesses want to do more to protect their employees, almost half are struggling to understand how they can help.
Across retail, £246 million has been invested in crime prevention in the past 12 months, with each store spending £5,239 on crime prevention measures, on average. The principal areas of investment are security guards, CCTV, and intruder alarms.
One female survey respondent (age 35-44) says:
Despite investment across the sector, two in three employees say there are one or more safety mitigation options that are not available to them that their employer should implement. Employees also tended to support the introduction of solutions that let other people know if they are at risk and alert an emergency response, such as an employee safety service.
In our survey, two thirds of employees questioned said they would take up a personal safety solution if offered and 50% of them would consider a retail or other public-facing role if they had safety technology.
This suggests that the pool of candidates for any retail role could measurably increase with personal safety technology built into a job offer or role.