Permanent retail job vacancies fell for the fifth consecutive month in July, reaching their second-lowest amount in the past two years.
July’s index fell from 43.9 in June to 39.8. This is just above the lowest-ever recorded index, 38.4 in April this year, despite a “solid” increase in demand for permanent staff across the UK (54.7).
The latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs showed that vacancies for temporary retail workers also dropped for the sixth month running in July to 44.6. National temporary staff demand meanwhile rose at the lowest rate in seven years (53.3).
The report blames Brexit, and ongoing political and economic uncertainty for last month’s “muted” recruitment activity, claiming subdued confidence impacted hiring decisions as well as the availability of workers.
UK head of retail at KPMG Paul Martin added: “Employment prospects in retail naturally go hand-in-hand with the health of the sector [which has] faced considerable turmoil for a prolonged period of time now.
“Record low growth of retail sales in May, June and July this year, coupled with ever rising costs, [means] overheads, including headcount, have required a rethink.
“The latest jobs numbers make for rather sobering reading, especially given that retail is a key provider of employment across the UK.”