Staff who work in the grocery trade in the Irish Republic are among the least satisfied among the country’s retail sector employees, according to a new survey. They also have the highest rate of absenteeism and change jobs more often.

The survey, conducted by Crest, a retail training and development body, covered supermarkets, forecourt outlets and convenience stores, comparing their performance with those of seven other retail groups, from pharmacy and fashion to giftware and stationery.

While the grocery sector scored high marks in areas like store design and business management, the overall image was of an unhappy staff, eager to move to other jobs.

Crest’s chief executive David Fizsimons said: “The trouble is that, unlike other sectors, the grocery trade has been seen, not as offering careers but part-time jobs, with a transient workforce rather than a proper career structure. Top-level management may be highly competent but at the coalface, the entry standards are much less demanding.”

The survey covered 340 stores in the Republic, including more than 50 in the grocery sector.