Retail Employment slow over next quarterTuesday, 22 March 2011
Whilst a survey of retailers shows that 38% are planning to decrease staffing levels over the next 4 months, only a mere 4% plan to increase employees.
In the last quarter of 2010 there were the equivalent of 3,900 more full-time jobs in UK retail than the same period in the previous year but Stephen Robertson, BRC Director General, argues that the picture is not as bleak as it seems.
“Against an economy-wide background of rising unemployment, retail job numbers were up modestly by 0.6 per cent on the same quarter in 2009,” he said. “Almost two-thirds of retailers say they will add to or maintain job numbers over the next three months and new stores are still being opened. “With youth unemployment a major concern, retailers’ largely positive outlook is good news for young jobseekers since a third of retail staff are under 25.”
During the month the number of hours worked by employees of the retail sector fell by 1.5 per cent year-on-year, the equivalent to losing 10,300 full-time jobs compared to 2009. With retail one of the industries expected to soak up job losses created by swinging public sector cuts, Robertson has called on the government to ease burdens on business and focus on growth in the coming year. Christina Tolvas-Vincent, Head of Retail Employment at business law firm Bond Pearce, commented:
“The overall figures are challenging, but it’s significant that employment in the retail sector continued to outperform the overall economy. It’s still too early to assess the impact of the public sector cuts on the private sector as a whole but there must now be some doubt cast on the extent to which retailers can absorb job losses.”