Retail employment at fastest rate in years, new research says

42% of smaller retailers said Brexit has made hiring harder
// Vacancies advertised across UK jumped by 88,000 in April to hit 747,000
// Fashion firms are among the companies hit the hardest, followed by smaller retailers

The retail industry is scurrying to hire employees at the fastest rate in years as reopenings take place across the UK.

Vacancies advertised across the UK rose by 88,000 in April to hit a post-pandemic high of 747,000 ahead of the return of shops and outdoor hospitality on April 12, according to the ONS.

The demand was biggest in accommodation and food, where vacancies jumped 70pc or 29,000 to 70,000.

READ MORE: How can retailers combat labour shortages amid Covid-19 & Brexit?

Fashion firms are among the companies hit the hardest, followed by smaller retailers, which employ up to 1000 staff.

B&M is currently struggling with a continued shortage of HGV drivers in the UK as well as workers doing night shifts in its distribution centres post-Brexit.

It warned it could incur higher business costs as a result. It has already hired 7000 staff during the pandemic.

There is estimated to be a 70,000 shortfall of lorry drivers, principally fuelled by EU workers leaving the UK, which has seen wages shoot up by 20 per cent.

More than two fifths (42 per cent) of smaller retailers have said that Brexit has made hiring harder, compared to more than a third (35 per cent) of larger retailers with over 5000 employees, according to a survey of 250 industry executives by Fourth and Censuswide in April.

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