The retail sector’s leading lobby group has said “innovative ways of working” would create tens of thousands of new kinds of jobs, although it is expected there would be a decline in the number of retail employees in the next few years.
According to The Journey to Better Jobs report, part three in the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Retail 2020 series of reports, the British retail also currently employs 100,000 people in roles that didn’t even exist five years ago.
The majority of these jobs required high levels of technical, scientific or creative skill, and meant more people were working in new retail roles than those employed by the UK’s aerospace industry.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said the latest report proved how creative retailers were becoming as structural changes in the market, competitive pressures and higher costs drove the pace of transformation.
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“Retailers have always been quick to adapt to the changing competitive environment, but the fact that over the coming five years they will create more jobs in new roles than Google employs worldwide shows just what fantastic opportunities retail offers in all kinds of roles,” she said.
“Where once retail jobs were stigmatised as just ‘shelf-stacking’, the industry is now a leader in offering opportunities in app development, microbiology or events planning.”
The BRC’s Retail 2020 series examines the way retail jobs are changing and how retail businesses can ensure more rewarding and better-paid jobs in the future.
The report also provides a roadmap for improvement in a broad range of areas, including the way in which training supports progression, customising jobs to cater for differing life needs, making routes to progression more accessible, and ways to engage people in improving productivity.