Employee engagement: Do demographic variables matter?

Prof Michael C Cant

Volume 18 | Issue 2 pp. 122-140


One of the significant accelerators in economic development of a country is the retail industry, which is experiencing tremendous competition. Due to these circumstances, selecting, retaining and growing employees have become an essential responsibility for managers, especially for human resources departments. Therefore, employees should be engaged both physically and mentally with their work place and job roles.  The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which different demographic factors including employee rank, number of employees, gender, age and age of the organisation affect employee engagement practices in South African retail organisations. A total of 201 valid responses from employees working in different retail organisations have been collected with a structured survey questionnaire. A quantitative procedure with analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that the manager role has the highest score for ‘inform and instruct practice’. General manager and staff roles have the lowest score for ‘inform and instruct practice’ respectively. Moreover, employee engagement practices are higher for female and younger employees than male and older employees respectively. The employee engagement practices are higher for organisations with more years of age and fewer employees. Descriptive analysis with means also concludes that all the practices need to be improved for better employee engagement. The study has implications for retail organisations, decision makers and human resources managers.

Keywords: Employee engagement; Demographic factors; Management; Retailing; South Africa

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