10x in the Press

Grads in retail are most vulnerable to poor mental health, according to new research

4th June 2019

HR News, Article by Dr George Margrove, Principal Psychologist at 10x Psychology

According to the latest research by 10x Psychology, graduates in retail show the highest signs of poor mental health, with this sector scoring lower than any other industry. Only 54% agreed that their mental health is very good — compared to those working in engineering (64%), which came out as the best sector for graduate mental health.

The study, conducted in partnership with trendence, looked at the sentiment of graduates working in a number of different sectors, as well as their key motivators and stressors. With the focus on mental wellness a growing priority for organisations, these insights should signal a fundamental change in how some employers, and retailers in particular, engage with their staff.

The research further found that only 38% of graduates working in retail have positive employee experiences at work (e.g. enjoyment, satisfaction, motivation). This is in contrast to the media and research sector, which topped the list with 65% of respondents feeling positive about their experiences at work.

The findings make it clear that all employers, including retailers, need to invest more in their workers’ mental wellbeing and highlighted a number of key practice areas to help support them. For mental health, support from others (68%), work being meaningful (39%), and not being micromanaged (49%), were most important.

With increasing numbers of retailers at risk of administration and the future of the high street in question, there is therefore a clear business case for improving the wellbeing of employees. Focussing on these areas would not only increase mental wellness in the sector significantly but would also boost employee engagement and productivity.

Dr George Margrove, Psychologist at 10x Psychology says:
“The pressures on the retail industry should give added impetus for retailers to provide the structure needed to keep staff engaged. In doing so, the business can retain the best talent, which in turn will help keep customers happy. Now more than ever, the people factor is vital to the survival of retailers and if staff aren’t happy, this will undoubtably cross over into the customer experience.


Our research indicates a number of key drivers which can help support employees to maintain or enhance their wellbeing, and this will have positive knock-on effects to motivation and engagement within their role. Retail staff want to feel in control of what they do and to not be micromanaged, to collaborate, for work to be meaningful, and above all to feel supported at work. Line managers and leaders should focus on numerous small changes to enhance these areas, and to communicate their importance to all staff. This is likely to have a significant impact on employee and organizational wellbeing.”

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