PC World's head honcho has hit back at a recent PC Advisor service poll, in which nearly one in four of respondents named the retail giant as the UK’s worst offender.

According to managing director Simon Turner the chain has started scouring local voluntary organisations, job centres and rival retailers in a bid to recruit older members of staff and women. It wants to overturn the image of young, ignorant, men plagued by troubled skin.

"We want more women in store," said Turner. "We're changing the nature of our ads, taking longer about recruitment, even if we're short of staff. We'd rather wait for the better fit."

Turner claims that, contrary to the popular image of the pimply-faced salesman barely out of puberty, the average age of PC World sales staff is closer to 30 than it is to 20. And that average age, according to Turner, is going up, despite the fact that older age groups tend to be more intimidated by technology.

“We don't just employ a 20-year-old without interrogation and have them stuck out on the shop floor,” said Turner.

The 101-strong chain is also overhauling its training program, adopting a more multi-skilled approach to avoid ghettoising staff in any one part of the store. Staff are now encouraged to qualify for up to 60 modules.

"We've rewritten every training aspect of the store. Everyone has access to the training programme at all times. They [the staff] have to take extra modules but they can decide which ones," said Turner.

PC World staff will also be getting a new lick of paint in time for the Christmas shopping season. In a move reminiscent of New Labour’s replacement of its red flag with an more 'tasteful' rose, the chain is ditching its tacky red polo shirts with more comely light purple tops (available in short or long-sleeved form factors).

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