Two out of three women have credited the retail sector for providing a worthwhile career path, according to research released by the Australian National Retailers Association.

Of these women, one quarter of them said they work in the sector because it makes use of their natural skills with two out of five of them saying the sector supporting their lifestyle needs.

“Maternity leave and flexible working hours are important factors women take into account when mapping a career path and the retail sector provides diverse solutions to support this,” ANRA CEO Margy Osmond said.

“The results signal a promising future for retail with 22 per cent of women (who believe the retail sector presents a viable career option) telling us they believe the sector provides opportunities to support their entrepreneurial ideas.

“It’s clear people are passionate about their work in the retail sector, 22 per cent of people with retail sector experience have worked in the retail sector for more than 10 years and 24 per cent have worked in the sector between three and five years.

The research coincides with the launch of ANRA’s Women in Retail initiative.

“As the largest private sector employer of women in Australia the initiative will recognise the vital contribution women make to the industry and will look at policies to adapt our working practices accordingly,” Osmond said.

“Approximately 690,000 women work in the retail sector – representing around 13 per cent of the total Australian female workforce – as such the importance of this sector to the broader economy cannot be underestimated.

“Compared to key overseas environments, Australia and New Zealand at 57 per cent each have the highest percentage of women employed in the retail sector – the gender split is closer to 50/50 in the UK, US and Canada.”