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UK retail job numbers fall as furlough scheme winds down

17
Sep '21
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Despite strong retail sales in recent months, the British industry has been weighed down by continued low footfall in shopping centres and city centres, the rising number of vacant shops, and competition for jobs from the hospitality sector, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) recently said responding to the latest job figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

ONS figures show 3.015 million jobs in retail during the second quarter of this year, down 89,000 year on year.

Meanwhile, the number of furloughed workers continued to fall in retail, with the latest figures showing 106,000 still on the government scheme, said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson in a statement.

“The decline in retail employment is reflected in the chronic shortage of key retail jobs such as HGV drivers and distribution centre staff. This has left some retailers facing supply chain challenges, resulting in some empty shelves. Retailers have responded by increasing pay for workers, particularly in essential logistics roles. However, to bridge the gap while new British workers are trained, the government must provide a temporary worker visa scheme for HGV drivers and find ways to address other worker shortages, he said.

“Despite the falling number of retail jobs, industry pay has risen steadily over the last two decades. BRC research shows that pay has risen 44 per cent since 2008, as jobs become higher skilled and productivity of the industry increases. Overall, the retail industry is making a key contribution to the economic recovery and levelling up agenda,” he added.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)


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