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Retail vacancies drop 25% in the last 12 months

  • A quarter (25%) of retail positions have been lost in the last year alone, suggesting that the struggle to compete with online is intensifying
  • The retail industry is  the second biggest casualty in the job market since August 2018 (-25%), only falling behind Construction (-29%).

New job market data has revealed a downward spiral for the retail sector, with available vacancies in the retail sector plummeting by -25% in the last 12 months.

According to data from Adzuna, a leading job search engine, the retail industry has lost a quarter of all vacancies in the past 12 months (a loss of 7,298 jobs) with a -13% decrease of jobs month-on-month. August 2019 shows the largest month-on-month decrease since May 2017.

Splitting this loss out into different roles, the data reveals vacancies for management positions in retail have fallen by 30% compared to this time last year, with vacancies for retail apprentices dropping by 55% and retail operatives dropping by 23%. 

The average salary across the industry (£26,284 pa), has only seen a 0.7% increase in the last three years, despite the average inflation rate being 2.62%¹. The current average sits 23% below the national average of £34,164.

The top five companies hiring for retail jobs in the UK are:

  1. Tesco – 1,275 jobs
  2. Dixons Carphone – 952 jobs
  3. Halfords – 401 jobs
  4. Greggs – 351 jobs
  5. Sainsbury’s – 334 jobs 

The data also looked at the job market at a whole, revealing that across all industries, the North East of England saw the biggest loss in job vacancies (-46.3% year on year) in the last 12 months. 

The table below shows the cities with the biggest decrease in job vacancies since 2018:

Jul-18Aug-19% 12m vacancy change
Eastern England108,74893,123-15.5%
East Midlands61,23952,383-14.2%
North East England26,27915,716-46.3%
North West England98,05987,516-12.1%
Northern Ireland10,2748,619-13.2%
South East England183,524162,507-12.2%
South West England88,40878,275-11.2%
West Midlands82,46969,672-16.3%
Yorkshire and The Humber56,65658,6156.6%

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “The possibility of a no deal Brexit continues to unsettle the job market. We have seen the biggest annual decline in vacancies in almost three years, with the retail sector taking one of the biggest hits. 

“The recent Thomas Cook closure has definitely highlighted the struggle that bricks and mortar businesses are facing in the age of online shopping and our data shows that there is cause for concern. The retail industry in particular is showing little to no signs of recovery, following the closure of several high profile retailers. The threat of online shopping, automation and Brexit means it will be a difficult flight back for this industry and we anticipate we’ll see the high street continue to struggle in the coming years.

“Aside from retail, the number of available roles in construction is also plummeting. These two sectors combined are often an indicator of what direction our economy is heading in, so these figures aren’t promising.” 

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