The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported a small boost to retail job numbers since the start of the pandemic.
Figures show there were 3.042 million jobs in retail, up 1,000 from the first quarter of 2020. However, this includes over half a million workers on furlough at the time.
Commenting on the findings, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The year-on-year rise reflects the many jobs that have been created in logistics, fulfilment, food retail as well as the many technical roles required by the huge growth in online sales, with many retailers still struggling to fill the number of vacancies in these areas. These jobs are often more productive and better paid, reflecting a trend in the industry.
She added: “Overall numbers in retail may fall in Q2 and Q3, when the Government’s furlough scheme is wound down. This is only part of the changing nature of retail employment, diversity and inclusion is essential to a healthy industry.”
Dickinson noted that while progress has started to be made in improving gender equality, women continue to be underrepresented at board level.
She continued: “There is much further to go to ensure that retail leadership is representative of the UK population in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability and social mobility. To ensure progress, over fifty major retailers pledged to take decisive action to improve diversity practices across the retail industry. This pledge will focus on oversight, recruitment, progression, reporting, inclusivity and responsibility.”