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Retail staff recruitment up a third in first half of 2014

Demand for sales advisors dominated retail staff recruitment activity, with adverts up 6.6% compared to this time last year. Luxury was in most demand, with applications up 131% compared to last year.

For the first time since June 2012 demand for retail management positions also increased (advertised management roles were up 5% compared to the previous half year). 

Neil Brodie, sales director at, said, “As the UK continues its journey to a brighter economic future, consumer confidence and spending is on the up. For some retailers, this growth is driving a return to recruitment activity. In response to this changing consumer behaviour, retailers are on the lookout for sales staff to manage the increasing number of customers through their doors. But longer term, senior management need to look to the future as they recruit staff that can be developed to handle the increased demands of a sector that’s once again in growth.”

Salaries: on a downward trend

In the first half of 2014 overall salary levels for the retail sector fell by 5%. However, the growing percentage of opportunities for lower paid retail staff may account for this trend as an analysis by job title reveals that salaries for certain roles increased. For example, remuneration levels for deputy managers rose by 4%.

Certain sectors such as Luxury, are bucking the salary squeeze trend. Advertised salaries for retail managers and staff in this sector are 25% higher compared to retail as a whole, indicating that Luxury retailers are willing to pay a premium for the right profile of candidate.

A regional analysis reveals that salaries for all job positions were higher in London, compared to the rest of the UK. This differential was most marked in retail management and merchandising, with jobs in London attracting salaries up to &pound10K higher than in the regions. Meanwhile, roles in buying and general management commanded salaries just &pound1K higher on average compared to other regions.

Brodie added, “Increasing optimism, resulting from sustained improvements in the economy, is stimulating an upswing in retailer recruitment activities. But 24 months of restricted opportunities in retail management has seen potential talent turning to employment outside the retail sector.

“To maximise talent pipelines, retailers will need to adapt their recruitment strategies to appeal to the next generation of talent. The competition for quality candidates is set to intensify as the retail sector ramps up for future growth. It also means appealing to a new generation of talent: the millennials. Results focused, millennials expect immediate recognition and opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Employers who are seen as progressive, supportive and open-minded are more likely to get the millennial workers they need”

The quarterly Retail Index report is available to download free of charge at:


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