Gap Reaches Out to Low-Income Workers

The retailer is seeking new sources of talent in a tight labor market.
By: | August 16, 2018 • 2 min read
London, UK - April 23, 2016: People shop at The Gap, Oxford Street in London. Oxford Street has approximately half a million daily visitors and 320 stores.

Seeking to diversify its employee base and tap underutilized talent, Gap Inc. is broadening a push to hire low-income workers with no recent work history in cities around the globe.

“This is a perfect vehicle for us to drive our business,” Brent Hyder, Gap’s head of HR, tells Bloomberg. “With a little extra training, a little extra initiative, we now have a talent pool that is predominantly diverse that may not have been there for us in the past.”


Gap’s program, called “This Way Ahead,” will focus on hiring young people ages 16-to-24 years old with no recent employment history from low-income neighborhoods in 53 cities in the U.S. and in countries such as Japan and the U.K. The new hires will be paid $10 an hour (or the minimum wage in their particular city) and will be paired with a job coach and a buddy system in which colleagues will give them advice and assistance with routine job-related tasks. Gap is planning for these new hires—whom it refers to as “Opportunity Youth”—to make up at least 5 percent of all its entry-level workers by 2025, Bloomberg reports.

The retail company will hire based on competencies rather than credentials, focusing on work ethic and time management.