Retail employment rises by 1% in third quarter of 2013
Retail employment rose by 1% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013 to record the weakest growth this year according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium in its BRC-Bond Dickinson Retail Employment Monitor.
However, the data shows that the number of full-time contracts grew at the fastest rate for over three years. In addition, the number of outlets rose by 1.6%, driven entirely by food retailers. For non-food, growth in hours worked was supported by an uptake of full-time workers.
The BRC said that 72% of retailers polled said that they intended to increase staffing levels in the run-up to Christmas with only 8% suggesting that they would decrease the number of workers they employed in the next three months. A fifth of retailers in the sample said that they would keep staffing levels unchanged.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "While these are still positive results, and I am particularly encouraged by the growth of full time employment over the last quarter, it is true that overall growth has slowed a little since the very strong results we reported last time. This slowing of growth supports the trend we have seen in recent BRC figures for gentler growth in sales and a slight fall recently in the number of people visiting our shops.
"The overall trend remains that jobs in retail are growing. In fact, we have reported positive growth in the number of jobs the retail sector offers every quarter for the last two years. Our figures are based on a robust three month rolling average so they demonstrate the continuing importance of the industry in employing more people than any other private sector area.
"This quarter has also seen another increase in those retailers looking to hire more people. With 72% of those we surveyed looking to recruit more people in the run up to Christmas, this represents a good opportunity for anyone looking to start a career in retail over the coming months."
Christina Tolvas-Vincent, head of retail employment at business law firm Bond Dickinson, added: "The importance of the retail sector for UK employment is demonstrated once again by this report. The continued growth is underpinned by the strongest growth in full time contracts for more than three years. With the growing debate about employment contracts, it is interesting that retailers are creating more full time jobs as well as the more flexible part time or seasonal jobs that you might traditionally associate with the retail industry.
"Food retailers continue to outpace non-food retailers in terms of hours worked and store numbers; the success of the food sector is a crucial driver in the overall growth of the retail sector and this shows no sign of changing.
"Seasonal hiring is on most retailers' agendas, with around three quarters planning to increase staffing levels in the next three months and with redundancy levels significantly lower than they were earlier in the year, the retail sector will be providing sought after opportunities for those looking for work."
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