Ever thought about being a florist?
If the conversations I used to have in the shop daily are anything to go by, almost every second person has thought about becoming a florist at some point in their lives….that, or they know someone who ‘used to be’ a florist.
For a profession that seems so pleasant, at least from the outside, believe it or not it is becoming increasingly hard to find suitably qualified and experienced staff.
This isn’t an entirely new problem, floristry has always attracted a younger crowd, some, new school leavers who work whilst studying for their ‘real career’. But the trend has been and continues to be that the industry burns and churns through staff, working them hard and failing to offer something worth staying for. Finding qualified, experienced, seasoned professionals is hard.
There are so many things about working within the industry that are attractive. For a creative soul, you get to create new designs and arrangements everyday and keep yourself constantly challenged artistically. That in itself is a pretty incredible opportunity for anyone who wants to make a living out of making and creating.
Working with nature is also said to have countless health benefits in terms of lowering stress levels and anxiety.
There are jobs within the industry that can be relatively stress free too, which can be appealing, and there are of course opportunities to specialise in weddings, funerals and events, which do include some level of stress and pressure.
Physically, the job is not easy on your body, with long hours spent standing on your feet. And I dare you to ask a florist to show your their hands up close….coz they are not pretty, and we can be pretty self conscious about them.
But the biggest problem I believe with the industry attracting and retaining quality candidates is the fact that even after you have undertaken your training and received your qualification, you can only expect to be paid as a retail shop assistant. That’s the same wage you can expect as a sales assistant in a clothing shop or a corner store….yet you had to train for a minimum of 2 years.
The problem with that is that with no experience, a newly qualified florist can expect the same wage as a highly experienced florist. And by no means am I suggesting that the newly qualified florist isn’t entitled to this minimal wage, but instead, what is required is a clear grading system based on responsibilities and experience.
If that isn’t the case, what is there in place to retain staff?
That is why I believe we also see such a huge age divide in the industry. The older florists who continue to work in the industry have been working as a florist for such a long time, they perhaps lack the transferable skills or confidence to try something new. The newly qualified florists make up for their lack of experience with their confidence, however sometimes seem unwilling to ‘start from the bottom’. We are then left with a massive gap right in the middle; where the staff with enough experience and innovation would slot in. They would have adequate knowledge, but be flexible and open to new ideas.
I don’t think the grass is always greener, as I have tried other careers and don’t feel half the satisfaction I do when working with flowers…BUT I feel like we have lots of room for improvement in the industry.
What was the best thing about your job or industry?