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.”

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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.

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