The number of retail jobs has fallen by 14% over the past 12 months, down to levels not seen since 2009, with more than 40 people chasing every vacancy in some parts of the country, according to a new report.
Recruitment website RetailChoice.com said employment fell among general retail staff and management, with a slight rise in marketing.
There were more than 40 applicants for every retail vacancy in Kent, 39 in Glasgow, and 31 in Liverpool, while applications for a general management post increased by 19% to 19 for each job, highlighting ‘fierce competition’ in the sector.
Neil Brodie, sales director at RetailChoice.com, said: “The move towards fewer, smaller, more connected and experience-driven stores is imposing natural limits on the numbers of retail roles on the high street.
“Similarly, demand for specialists is growing: whether (online) marketers, highly trained customer ambassadors or e-commerce customer services personnel.
“This trend is likely to gather pace, at the expense of more general store assistants, managers and physical back office support staff.”
Pay outside London increased by below-inflation – 1.3% in the past year – while retail salaries in the capital rose by 4.2%, said the report.
Mr Brodie added: “Reducing footfall, falling revenue and high rental charges have forced brands to rationalise their store estates. Store closures have been common throughout the UK.
“From the smaller independents to the global brands, retailers are rethinking their routes to market and re-evaluating their business models – and it’s having a major impact on recruitment.”