Grads in retail are most vulnerable to poor mental health

Findings also reveal that employees in retail also have the lowest levels of “employee experience”

According to new research, graduates in retail show the highest signs of poor mental health, with this sector scoring lower than any other industry*. Only 54 per cent agreed that their mental health is very good – compared to those working in engineering (64 per cent), which came out as the best sector for graduate mental health.

The study, conducted in partnership with trendence, looked at the sentiment of graduates working in a number of different sectors, as well as their key motivators and stressors. With the focus on mental wellness a growing priority for organisations, these insights should signal a fundamental change in how some employers, and retailers in particular, engage with their staff.

The research further found that only 38 per cent of graduates working in retail have positive employee experiences at work (e.g. enjoyment, satisfaction, motivation). This is in contrast to the media and research sector, which topped the list with 65 per cent of respondents feeling positive about their experiences at work.

The findings make it clear that all employers, including retailers, need to invest more in their workers’ mental wellbeing and highlighted a number of key practice areas to help support them. For mental health, support from others (68 per cent), work being meaningful (39 per cent), and not being micromanaged (49 per cent), were most important.

With increasing numbers of retailers at risk of administration and the future of the high street in question, there is therefore a clear business case for improving the wellbeing of employees. Focussing on these areas would not only increase mental wellness in the sector significantly but would also boost employee engagement and productivity.

Dr George Margrove, Psychologist at 10x Psychology, says,

The pressures on the retail industry should give added impetus for retailers to provide the structure needed to keep staff engaged. In doing so, the business can retain the best talent, which in turn will help keep customers happy. Now more than ever, the people factor is vital to the survival of retailers and if staff aren’t happy, this will undoubtably cross over into the customer experience.

Our research indicates a number of key drivers which can help support employees to maintain or enhance their wellbeing, and this will have positive knock-on effects to motivation and engagement within their role. Retail staff want to feel in control of what they do and to not be micromanaged, to collaborate, for work to be meaningful, and above all to feel supported at work. Line managers and leaders should focus on numerous small changes to enhance these areas, and to communicate their importance to all staff. This is likely to have a significant impact on employee and organizational wellbeing.

*by 10x Psychology

Interested in wellbeing in the workplace? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.