Bangalore, 16th January, 2014Pankh (TRRAIN and Youth4Jobs initiative) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today launched a white paper titled ‘Breaking New Ground – Empowering Persons with Disabilities to Succeed in Retail Sector,’ which focuses on how the Indian retail industry stands to benefit by hiring Persons with Disabilities (PwD). The white paper report, which is aimed at sensitizing both retail organizations and the government to the benefits of employing PwD, demonstrates how PwD employment is socially relevant and makes sound business sense. The Indian retail industry is slated to grow from its current market size of 500 billion USD to over 1.3 trillion USD by 2020.  Today, it is India’s second-largest employer, employing 33 million people. The report also provides guidelines for effective PwD inclusion in the retail industry, including sourcing and training of PwD, role–disability assessment, organization readiness through enablement, infrastructure and sensitization support.

The report captures interviews from over 47 HR representatives across a spectrum of retail organizations, Central and State Government officials working for PwD welfare, NGOs and PwD individuals working in the retail space and found that manpower costs add up to more than seven percent of total costs in retail. At the same time, high levels of attrition in the industry negate the colossal investments made in recruiting and training employees. To compound the challenges, the need for a skilled workforce continues to grow unabated as the retail industry continues to expand. There is an imminent need for innovative ways to attract talent and retain it.

“Retail is the best industry to integrate Persons with Disability. It being the first mile of customer interaction, PwD gets a chance to interact with the end consumer and build on their confidence. On the other hand people in the society can clearly see the ability of the youth and the contribution that they can make to the society. Retail is a great industry to bring in inclusion.”asserted Mr. B S Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN. Ms. Ameesha Prabhu, CEO, TRRAIN echoed his thoughts.

Ms. Meera Shenoy, Founder, Youth4Jobs further added, “This white paper developed by Pankh and Accenture partnership will go a long way to help create an eco-sphere where companies, governments and civil society organizations will come on board to mainstream hiring persons of disability in the retail industry.”Image