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British retail employs 100,000 people in roles that didn't exist five years ago

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British retail today employs 100,000 people in roles that didn't even exist five years ago, figures compiled by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveal today. While overall numbers of employees in retail are expected to fall over the coming few years, innovative ways of working will also create tens of thousands of new types of job including digital artworkers, online merchandisers and even personal stylists.

As 42 retail businesses employing 1,200,000 people lent their support to a shared vision of The Journey to Better Jobs in the industry, BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said the data proved just how creative and dynamic retailers are becoming as structural changes in the market, competitive pressures and higher costs drive the unprecedented pace of transformation:

"Retailers have always been quick to adapt to the changing competitive environment, but the fact that over the coming five years they will create more jobs in new roles than Google employs worldwide shows just what fantastic opportunities retail offers in all kinds of roles," Dickinson said.

"Where once retail jobs were stigmatised as just ‘shelf-stacking,' the industry is now a leader in offering opportunities in app development, microbiology or events planning."

Data from BRC members showed that over three per cent of retail employees are occupied in roles that didn't exist five years ago. With the majority of these jobs in occupations requiring high levels of technical, scientific or creative skill, this means that there are more people working in new roles in retail than are employed by the entire UK aerospace industry.

The Journey to Better Jobs is the third report in its ‘Retail 2020' series, which examines the way retail jobs are changing and how we can ensure more rewarding and better-paid jobs in the industry in years to come.

The report provides a roadmap for improvement in a broad range of areas that are vitally important to retail employees. These include the way in which training supports progression, customising jobs to cater for differing life needs, making routes to progression more accessible and means of engaging people in improving productivity.

Chairman of John Lewis Partnership Sir Charlie Mayfield said: "The UK retail market is the most competitive in the world and it is undergoing a level of structural change not seen before, driven by the phenomenal speed of new technology. We all need to rethink how our businesses operate, what our customers need in the future and what this means for the skills of the people we employ. We don't believe the transition will be easy but we are committed to ensuring that in the future there will be better jobs in retail."

Conor D'Arcy at the independent think tank the Resolution Foundation said: "The fast-changing nature of retail presents huge challenges for employers and their staff. But the vast creation of new kinds of jobs also creates opportunities to boost the skills of retail staff and support progression up the career ladder and onto higher pay. It's vital that retailers get on board with this task of making retail an attractive industry to work and grow in."

Case Study
Luke Simmons – Product Owner in Sainsbury's Digital and Technology Division
In 2004, while looking for a secure job that could offer him good prospects, Luke started to work as a temporary checkout operator at his local Sainsbury's store in Harlow, during the busy Christmas period. In the New Year, Luke was offered a permanent role as a checkout operator and later promoted to the position of Team Leader.

Luke then asked to join Sainsbury's management scheme and became a manager at a new flagship store in Hertfordshire. During his time there, he managed the introduction of new Scan and Go technology designed to help customers shop more quickly. After developing his interest in technology, Luke joined Sainsbury's IT Department in London helping other stores introduce Scan and Go.

In 2014, Sainsbury's created a new Digital and Technology Division. The new, 1000 strong team creates and manages its websites and Apps, and supports its online businesses, as well as providing more traditional IT support. Luke applied to become a Product Owner - one of the hundreds of new jobs created by the new Division. Today, he is a qualified Product Owner and leads a team of 12 developers, designers and testers who together created, and now manage, the Sainsbury's Groceries App.

Source : British Retail Consortium
www.brc.org.uk

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22 September 2016

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