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This morning’s workshop on recruiting new talent to the supermarket industry recalled a similar FMI session three years in Chicago, when a bright young Portland State University student with an eye on a future retail career discussed how a company’s values and posture toward a “work-life” balance would influence the decision of the company she would seek.

PSU professor Tom Gilpatrick, a panelist at both events, revealed Tuesday that the young woman is no longer in the food retail business, having left the industry after a transfer brought her into contact with a co-worker whose attitudes toward minorities left her disillusioned, and she now works for Nike.

Gilpatrick’s where-are-they-now story punctuated an undercurrent to the recruiting angle: While the industry needs to continue focusing on making supermarkets an attractive place for young college graduates, keeping young recruits in the business for a few years can often be just as big a challenge.

The grass however, isn’t always greener on the other side. Moderator Rose Mitchell, a senior vice president at Hy-Vee, told of one of her young recruits who quit the business after being unable to arrange a Saturday off to see an Iowa-Iowa State football game – a holiday for most Iowans but not for their home-state supermarket. But after a few months of free Saturdays but endless weekdays on a cubicle farm for a financial firm, the former employee, Mitchell said, reached out for a second chance.

Contributors

David Orgel

David Orgel is executive director, content & user engagement, of Supermarket News (SN) and its website, SupermarketNews.com. Orgel delivers his opinions on industry trends through a bi-weekly...

Jon Springer

Jon Springer has been writing about food, food retailers and food retailing for more than 10 years, and is in his second tour of duty with Supermarket News. His prior experience includes covering the...
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Total Access blog provides on-the-floor coverage of industry trade shows.

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