Leading department store group Debenhams is to give a much needed boost to the jobs market this Christmas by offering an extra 6,500 seasonal positions, it was confirmed today.
Like for most retailers, Christmas is the most important part of the financial year for Debenhams and so additional staff members are taken on between the gift rush which begins in mid-November and the start of the sales period in January.
Retail is the biggest private sector employer in the UK with around three million people working in the industry, and with the overall national unemployment figure now hovering around eight per cent, with youth joblessness particularly high, any new vacancies are a boost to the economy.
Michael Sharp, CEO of Debenhams, said: “These jobs are sure to be welcomed by local economies during the most financially challenging part of the year.
“Approximately a quarter of staff that work with us over the festive season will stay on in permanent roles, making this a crucial period in our employment calendar.”
Theses jobs will be split between every department at the retailer’s 163 nationwide stores, but this latest boost in temporary positions is lower than last year when Debenhams created 9,000 extra festive roles.
Around 30 per cent of those who worked as a seasonal employee at the company for Christmas 2010 will be offered work again, meaning only approximately 4,500 position will be open to the general public.
Minister for Employment in the coalition government Chris Grayling has backed the scheme however and has pointed to its ability to help ease youth unemployment, which in September alone grew by an extra 78,000 to total 973,000 nationally.
Grayling commented: “These roles offer invaluable retail experience for first-jobbers whilst giving those with families the flexible working hours they need.
“We are committed to injecting new life into the economy and this is a great example of how major players in the private sector are playing a key role in that.”