UK retailers face Christmas hiring challenge, claims job board CV-Library

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Christmas hiring is in full swing as UK retailers scramble to fill seasonal vacancies, but the latest data from the UK’s leading job board, CV-Library, reveals a tough road ahead for retail recruitment this festive season.

The job site’s latest figures show that retailers kicked off Christmas hiring early this year as job vacancies jumped by 27.29% in September 2015 when compared with August 2015. With leading retailers posting jobs on the site as early as September, it’s clear that businesses are ready to get the Christmas recruits in early.

Unfortunately candidates are not as eager to jump into retail jobs this Christmas, as application rates in September have failed to maintain pace with the surge in jobs. This has resulted in an overall month-on-month deficit of 12.93% in terms of the number of applications per role.

While this is already concerning news for UK retailers, more worrying is that the year-on-year comparison reveals an even harsher reality for businesses with an 18.44% deficit in the number of applications per retail job.  A retail job in September 2014 could expect to receive 22.5 candidates per vacancy but comparable data for September 2015 shows that this number has dropped to 18.3, meaning fewer candidates for retailers to choose from for their Christmas roles.

“Christmas jobs are critical to the UK retail industry and our data shows that businesses may struggle to attract candidates to their vacancies this festive season,” says Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library. “With jobs on the rise, job hunters have the luxury of being more selective in their applications, which means retailers need to become more creative to capture the interest of candidates.

“A recent survey revealed that almost half of retail workers (46.8%) consider workplace perks important when looking for a new job. The research also revealed that perks don’t have to be a huge investment; just some free food around the workplace makes employees happier. By listening to the feedback of industry professionals, retailers can improve their job descriptions and offer simple benefits to attract more qualified candidates to their Christmas vacancies,” concludes Biggins.

While the Christmas hiring season is set to be challenging, CV-Library said it has over 1.2m job hunters seeking retail work; meaning there are plenty of candidates available to fill Christmas roles.