New job market data has revealed a downward spiral for the retail sector, with available vacancies in the retail sector plummeting by -25% in the last 12 months.

According to data from Adzuna, a leading job search engine, the retail industry has lost a quarter of all vacancies in the past 12 months (a loss of 7,298 jobs) with a -13% decrease of jobs month-on-month. August 2019 shows the largest month-on-month decrease since May 2017.

Splitting this loss out into different roles, the data reveals vacancies for management positions in retail have fallen by 30% compared to this time last year, with vacancies for retail apprentices dropping by 55% and retail operatives dropping by 23%.

The average salary across the industry (£26,284 pa), has only seen a 0.7% increase in the last three years, despite the average inflation rate being 2.62%¹. The current average sits 23% below the national average of £34,164.

The top five companies hiring for retail jobs in the UK are:

1. Tesco - 1,275 jobs 2. Dixons Carphone - 952 jobs 3. Halfords - 401 jobs 4. Greggs - 351 jobs 5. Sainsbury’s - 334 jobs

The data also looked at the job market at a whole, revealing that across all industries, the North East of England saw the biggest loss in job vacancies (-46.3% year on year) in the last 12 months.

The table below shows the cities with the biggest decrease in job vacancies since 2018:

Jul-18 Aug-19 % 12m vacancy change 1,121,754 1,005,603 -11.6%

Eastern England 108,748 93,123 -15.5% East Midlands 61,239 52,383 -14.2% London 251,977 240,049 -6.7% North East England 26,279 15,716 -46.3% North West England 98,059 87,516 -12.1% Northern Ireland 10,274 8,619 -13.2% Scotland 45,633 40,272 -10.7% South East England 183,524 162,507 -12.2% South West England 88,408 78,275 -11.2% Wales 22,288 20,904 -7.6% West Midlands 82,469 69,672 -16.3% Yorkshire and The Humber 56,656 58,615 6.6%

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “The possibility of a no deal Brexit continues to unsettle the job market. We have seen the biggest annual decline in vacancies in almost three years, with the retail sector taking one of the biggest hits.

“The recent Thomas Cook closure has definitely highlighted the struggle that bricks and mortar businesses are facing in the age of online shopping and our data shows that there is cause for concern. The retail industry in particular is showing little to no signs of recovery, following the closure of several high profile retailers. The threat of online shopping, automation and Brexit means it will be a difficult flight back for this industry and we anticipate we’ll see the high street continue to struggle in the coming years.

“Aside from retail, the number of available roles in construction is also plummeting. These two sectors combined are often an indicator of what direction our economy is heading in, so these figures aren’t promising.”