Bricks and mortar retailers that have managed to survive, and in some cases thrive, during the pandemic have begun ramping up hiring plans ahead of the reopening date.
According to the latest research, retail vacancies have climbed to within 14 per cent of their pre-Covid levels, after falling as much as 65 per cent last year.
DIY and interiors stores were the firms advertising the most non-supermarket retail jobs in February, with Home Bargains, Screwfix and Toolstation leading the top ten.
Despite the impact of the pandemic on clothing and footwear retailers, Primark – which does not have an ecommerce offering – and Clarks completed the top five for the most vacancies available, suggesting they are expecting a bounceback in demand.
Other lockdown trends can be seen in the retailers that have accelerated their job search, according to recruitment platform Indeed.
Pets At Home, Holland & Barrett, Go Outdoors and McColl’s have all ramped up their recruitment drives, reflecting an increase in demand for pets, health foods, staycation equipment and convenience stores during the pandemic.
Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed, said: “The roadmaps out of lockdown gave many retailers all the incentive they needed to ramp up their hiring, and the Prime Minister’s confirmation that non-essential retail can reopen in England next week looks set to trigger another spike in job postings.
“The news that retail employers are at last hiring at close to their pre-Covid pace will be music to the ears of the thousands of jobseekers who have struggled for over a year to find work in hard hit sectors like retail and hospitality.
“We can expect to see shoppers flocking back to the high street in coming weeks as they experiment with browsing in a physical shop for the first time in months, providing a much-needed boost to the economy.
“The continued increase in driving roles, however, hints at how the UK’s multiple lockdowns have transformed retail for good.
“Online shopping has boomed during the pandemic, and retailers’ high demand for delivery drivers and loaders suggests many expect the trend to continue even after high street stores reopen.”