UK retail recruitment boosted in third quarter with sharp rise in full-time jobs

There was a boost for retail jobs in the third quarter of the year, the latest statistics reveal.

Retail employment went up by 1% compared to a year earlier, while the number of full-time contracts grew at the fastest rate in more than three years, according to the BRC-Bond Dickinson Retail Employment Monitor.

There was also a 1.6% rise in outlets over the same period, with food retailers entirely responsible for the increase.

Meanwhile, in non-food retail, a growth in hours worked was supported by an increase in full-time workers.

And there was more positive jobs news for the run-up to Christmas, with 72% of those included in the research stating their intention to take on more staff in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Only 8% - a figure unchanged from the previous year - indicated that they plan to reduce staffing levels over the next three months.

A fifth of the sample said they will retain their current staffing levels up to the end of the year.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium (BRC) director general, said these are once again "positive results" and she added she is particularly encouraged by the growth in full-time employment in the past three months.

She noted, however, that growth as a whole has slowed slightly following on from the "very strong results" reported last time around.

"This slowing of growth supports the trend we have seen in recent BRC figures for gentler growth in sales and a slight fall recently in the number of people visiting our shops."

Nevertheless, she pointed out that there is an overall trend that shows an increasing number of retail jobs in the UK.

"In fact, we have reported positive growth in the number of jobs the retail sector offers every quarter for the last two years," she commented.

"Our figures are based on a robust three month rolling average so they demonstrate the continuing importance of the industry in employing more people than any other private sector area."

Christina Tolvas-Vincent, head of retail employment at business law firm Bond Dickinson, said these latest figures highlight once again the importance of retail jobs in the wider UK employment picture.

"The continued growth is underpinned by the strongest growth in full-time contracts for more than three years," she added.

Copyright Press Association 2013