BRC sees “reinvention” in retail employment

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The British Retail Consortium has said that there is a seismic shift in retail employment underway after releasing its Retail Employment Monitor today.

Examining the second quarter of the current year’s employment practices in the retail industry, the BRC found total hours fell 2.8 per cent, with total employees also dropping 2.8 per cent.

According to the BRC, the bulk of reductions were seen in full time jobs, with the majority of survey participants reducing labour requirements compared to last year.

“Retailers are continuing to reduce labour requirements to support a reinvention in how retail and shopping works,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Hours worked by employees on full time contracts dropped more sharply this quarter as retailers seek greater flexibility in their workforce to cope with the pressure felt from the diverging costs of labour versus technology,” she added.

Redundancies in the second quarter came in at 0.3 per cent, compared to 0.1 per cent last year.

Speaking on behalf of the industry, the BRC said retailers were ready to work with the government “to upscale the retail workforce” as digital skills become more crucial.

Dickinson added: “Less rigidity and more flexibility, as well as future thinking by the government in how Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used, would facilitate more positive change more quickly.”

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