With one in five retailers planning to cut their workforce in the run up to Christmas, a recent article in Business Advice suggests that retailers are making their part-time workforce more flexible, offering additional hours instead of increasing full-time roles.
A fifth of retailers are planning to cut jobs in the lead up to Christmas as economic woes continue to batter the sector.
According to the British Retail Consortium’s Employment Monitor, 21% of retailers said they had plans to reduce staff in the coming quarter compared to a remarkable 0% this time last year.
The BRC said the retailers’ attitude was “surprising” given that the quarter running into the festive season is the busiest of the year.
However, the sector has been hit hard this year with falling consumer confidence and rising costs such as business rates.
Just over a third, 36%, had plans to increase staffing, down from the 50% seen at the same point last year, while 43% were planning on making no changes, compared to 50% last year.
The survey revealed that in the third quarter total hours in the sector were down 2.1% on the same period in 2017. The hours lost were mainly full time with retailers using their part-time workforce more flexible, offering additional hours instead of increasing full-time roles.
The BRC said this structural change was in “stark contrast” to the whole of the UK economy, which continues to see record lows of unemployment.
Store growth in the sector slowed to 0.7%, down on the 1.5% growth seen in the third quarter in 2017.
“The retail industry, the country’s largest private sector employer, continues to be under considerable pressure. While pay is growing much faster than in other industries, employment in retail continues to fall. And there are challenging times ahead, with a fifth of retailers indicating plans to reduce staff ahead of retail’s busiest quarter, when normally they would be looking to increase headcount,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.
What does this mean?
While the findings from the BRC signal a challenging season ahead for UK retailers, there could still be a healthy demand for seasonal staff to help with the Christmas rush. The ability to hire reliable temporary staff at short notice is ever more important at this time of year as success relies on sufficient and good quality staff being taken on to cover the extra demand if and when required (whether that’s in-store retail staff, logistics workers and more).
Planning ahead is vital but there’s only so much you can do in advance when it comes to recruiting temporary staff as, by their very nature, they are booked relatively last minute to cope and react to often unforeseen circumstances.
The business-critical nature of temporary workers, and more importantly, being able to find the right ones requires an online temporary staff recruitment platform, like TempRocket, to give you access to the right skills and allow for last-minute staff bookings 24/7.
The festive season offers a great opportunity for retailers to bolster sales but success relies on an adequate supply of temporary labour. Starting to put the necessary steps in place to prepare for that now will ensure that the bells are ringing out for Christmas day.
Source for The News: Business Advice