Retail sector job opportunities are expected to drop to their lowest level in five years as business owners struggle to keep up with the new living wage.
Around a third of employers in the sector plan on limiting the number of new jobs as the new wage guideline cuts into profit levels and dividend payouts, according to The Guardian.
Recruitment firm Manpower held a survey of 2,100 retail employers and found that the businesses were most likely to hold back the costs of the living wage and consider advertising new jobs over the next quarter.
A Manpower spokesman James Hick boldly noted that the new living wage, which came into effect in April this year, has resulted in retailers registering the biggest fall in optimism about their hiring plans since 2011.
Hick added that uncertainties concerning the outcome of the EU referendum has also swayed retailers from promoting new jobs. This is likely to slow to a greater extent if the UK votes Brexit. The report noted that the UK would be “critically short” of workers if EU workers no longer had their rights in this country.
“Britain added 404,000 jobs in the last 12 months alone, and despite the uncertainties of Brexit, employers tell us they still need more workers” Hick added.
“Make no mistake about the vital contribution EU workers make to Britain. There are currently 2.2 million people from the EU working in the UK, but not all of them will stay here in the long term and we need the opportunity to replace the skills they bring.
“Britain today is a magnet for international talent, from finance to tech to the NHS. Leaving the EU will make it much more difficult to attract the brightest and best.”