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Staff Shortages...seems to be the same the world over.

So, so many adverts but where have all the florists gone ... or is that we just aren't getting enough talent into the sector???? Would love to know what my florist friends think and how they are coping.

That was the question I posed on Facebook a few weeks ago and the response was phenomenal … nearly 250 comments from florists all over the UK.

But whilst everyone agreed there was a shortage and everyone accepted that it wasn’t just floristry facing a problem, the reasons were very different.

1: No one wants to work the hours or do the grotty jobs these days so no applicants fit the bill. The candidates’ expectations are too high, employers only want people who can do everything … as a result there is rarely a good match.

2: For some it was completely about the money … people won’t pay enough for flowers so therefore they couldn’t pay their staff more than the minimum wage or didn’t want to pay staff more than they earned themselves.

3: Colleges are letting the side down and not producing adequately trained people so they are of little or no use in a busy shop environment … it was viewed as quicker to do more work yourself than faff around correcting mistakes or seeing work done badly.

4: Taking on staff and training them yourself is dangerous as more often than not they just go off and set up on their own once they’ve bled employers dry of knowledge.

5: In an Instagram world everyone wants to do their own thing and as they can just watch ‘how to’ vids or go to a short course, they don’t see the need for florist shop training or experience.

6: The uplift in people setting up during the pandemic has created a whole new set of home-based workers, often selling very cheaply which again creates a false pricing situation so retail florists can’t compete and therefore can’t pay more to attract what little talent there was.

7: Those in the job market see bosses as greedy and expecting too much for too little. As a result, especially given training has already cost them a lot, they would rather work on their own than for minimum wage** or go freelance and earn anything between £12.50 and £25ph hour depending on location.

Now in many ways I totally get it. As someone who has employed more staff than she cares to remember, more often than not paying them far more than I have earned (I have never paid minimum wage!!) and faced all the issues going (and some I didn’t know could happen!!) I know staff can be the best … and worst part of running a business.

However, the flower industry is facing a crunch point and if we don’t make some changes, we could be in danger of seeing all retail shops and studios struggling to keep up or worst still never being able to expand.

Which is why we have kicked off autumn with three different features on staffing with more ideas to come.

One young florist shares his pretty blunt views on how floristry can and must move into the future if the bespoke sector is to survive. We have put together our top tips on how to recruit and keep good staff … we’ve even done a piece on whether you really need one person to do everything or if actually you should be thinking far more cleverly to achieve growth.

Because bottom line is that unless florists act soon, take a leap of faith, look past the minimum wage concept, and realise that very few people will … nay can … do everything, the skills shortage will start having an even more detrimental impact and throttle growth in a sector that has everything to go for.

Caroline Marshall-Foster

Editor, Florist Magazine


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