Retail jobs drop by 22,000

There were 3.01 million retail jobs in the UK during the third quarter 2021, down 22,000 year-on-year, according to the latest ONS figures.

The figures include around 97,000 workers who were still on furlough at the time.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that the fall in jobs reflects the decline in staffing at large city centre retailers, who cut back in response to lower shopper numbers during the pandemic.

“Nonetheless, there are still new retail roles being created in areas such as logistics and online fulfilment, not all of which are captured under the ONS retail job figures,” said the chief exec. “There were 91,000 retail vacancies in October, and nearly 1.2 million across the whole economy.

“Given the large number of people employed in retail, this has contributed to pay in retail rising 5.5 per cent in 2021, double the national average across all industries. This has created additional costs for retailers, which on top of the rising transport costs and higher energy and commodity prices, are filtering through to higher prices for consumers.”

She added that the retail industry has been ramping up operations ahead of Christmas, which should mean a rise in the number of jobs in the final quarter of the year.

“However, these efforts are being challenged by labour shortages in HGV drivers and warehouse workers,” explained Dickinson. “Only the gargantuan effort being made by people working in retail and its supply chains is ensuring a successful and festive Christmas for families all over the UK.”

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