Retailers now employ 100,000 people in roles that did not exist five years ago, illustrating the pace of change in the industry.
While the total number of retail roles is expected to fall by as many as 900,000 by 2025, more new roles will be created than Google at present employs worldwide, research by industry body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed.
Most of the new jobs demand “high levels of technical, scientific or creative skill”, reflecting the changes underway in retail driven by the rise of digital technology and changes to shopping habits, according to the BRC’s Journey to better jobs study.
BRC and John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “The UK retail market is the most competitive in the world and it is undergoing a level of structural change not seen before, driven by the phenomenal speed of new technology.
“We all need to rethink how our businesses operate, what our customers need in the future and what this means for the skills of the people we employ.
“We don’t believe the transition will be easy but we are committed to ensuring that in the future there will be better jobs in retail.”
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Where once retail jobs were stigmatised as just shelf-stacking, the industry is now a leader in offering opportunities in app development, microbiology or events planning.
“Retailers have always been quick to adapt to the changing competitive environment, but the fact that over the coming five years they will create more jobs in new roles than Google employs worldwide shows just what fantastic opportunities retail offers in all kinds of roles.”