UK retail job numbers lowest in 10 years

There were 3.12 million jobs in the UK retail sector during the final months of 2022, down by 14,000 on the previous year, the latest ONS labour market research has found.

The figures, which represent the lowest fourth quarter average in more than 10 years, don’t align with general UK employment trends.

According to the ONS research, the UK’s employment rate was up by 0.1 per cent compared to the previous three-month period – largely driven by part-time employees and self-employed workers.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that low consumer confidence and falling sales volumes meant many retailers were more cautious in hiring additional workers in the run up to Christmas.

This was made worst by the need to keep operational costs – and therefore prices - down during the cost of living squeeze, she added.

“This has contributed to the lowest fourth quarter average retail jobs numbers in over a decade,” continued Dickinson. “Not all retail roles have been affected, as ongoing digital transformation has led to the creation of many new well-paid and exciting jobs.”

The BRC recently criticised the chancellor's Spring Budget, saying that business rates reforms "don’t go far enough".

While the organisation welcomed the UK government’s measures around ongoing energy bill support and childcare costs, it noted that many businesses are currently “weighed down by a myriad of higher costs right through the supply chain”.

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