Almost ‘135,000 traditional retail jobs’ lost over the pandemic

Almost 135,000 traditional retail jobs were lost during the pandemic, according to analysis from trade union GMB.

In 2019, the analysis found there were an estimated 1.2 million sales and retail assistants, retail cashiers, and check-out operators.

By 2021, that number had dropped to just under 1,075,000, according to the latest ONS figures quoted by GMB.

The news comes after research released in January found that technology roles in England and Wales reached record highs in 2021.

The study, by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters and data analytics company Vacancysoft, found that there were more than 12,800 new vacancies for tech professionals last year, representing a 105 per cent increase in comparison to 2020 and a 57.3 per cent hike compared to the previous annual high seen in 2018.

"The Great British High Street is being allowed to wither and die,” said Andy Prendergast, national secretary at GMB. “These are vital businesses that drive our economy and help our communities thrive.”

"GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents - while our business rates system is archaic and no longer fit for purpose.”

He added: “Empty high streets and shopping centres that look like ghost towns are no good for anyone.”

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