Retail set for 70,000 jobs boost

Nearly 70,000 jobs are to be created in retail over the next year, according
to a survey of some of the sector’s biggest employers.

The study by Retail Human Resources finds there will be 66,500 new jobs in
the sector over the forthcoming 12 months.

The survey is based on responses from 50 of the largest retailers, including
Debenhams, Woolworth’s, Safeway, Tescoand Gap.

Peter Burgess, managing director of RHR, said the survey covers 34 per cent
of the total retail workforce and if the anticipated employment increases are
repeated across the entire industry, the actual number of new jobs would be
more than 100,000.

"The most common comments [among companies surveyed] concerned the need
to get a more diverse workforce, particularly with regard to age," he

Ruth di Mambro, recruitment manager for Debenhams, believes the jobs growth
across the sector means employers have to be increasingly creative in the way
they recruit staff.

She said: "The marketplace continues to be challenging to recruit and
retain the best people in retail stores and head offices. A focus on diversity
is more important as the age and make-up of the population changes.

"The key age groups that retail recruits from are decreasing, so we
need to become more open-minded in the way we recruit."

Di Mambro said that employers also need to think laterally about retaining

"Last year Debenhams introduced several flexible working policies,
including the opportunity to work part-time, flexible hours as well as the
chance to buy and sell holidays. These have been very successful in employee

By Ben Willmott

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