The British Retail Consortium’s new tool will analyse job figures and aims to improve understanding of the role of retail as an employer

What is it?

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is to launch a Retail Employment Monitor, sponsored by law firm Bond Pearce, to monitor retail employment.

It will compare job numbers to a year ago when the secator was in the depths of recession and indicate retailers’ plans to recruit more staff.

Why is the BRC launching it?

Employment figures are available from the Government but they are six months old when published.
The BRC says it wanted to provide a more accurate picture and also future projections. It also believes it is important to make the information available to the Government to influence policy making.

How does it work?

The BRC has been researching the jobs market for more than two years, covering retailers employing more than 1 million staff in the food and non-food sectors. That sample equates to more than a third of the total retail labour market and accounts for more than 50% of the retail sector by turnover.

It will measure changes and trends in employment and also store numbers. Data will be analysed in monthly intervals and collected on a quarterly basis. It will also indicate retailers’ intentions for employment for the quarter ahead.

How might the Government use the information?

The BRC hopes the employment data will help it to show the Government how important retail is to the overall economy. In the recession, retail was one
of the few sectors that still created jobs, yet the BRC believes that the Government fails to appreciate the sector’s importance. The BRC points out, for example, that retail employs more people than manufacturing, which it says is not widely known.

The BRC also hopes that the data will be considered when the Government is deciding any changes to the minimum wage, National Insurance, and the impact of further regulation in general.

How will it help retailers?

It will fill a gap in retailers’ understanding of the economic recovery and give them an idea of how their company fares against the employment average.

When does the Retail Employment Monitor start?

The first report due is out today and will cover the second quarter of 2010. It will complement other BRC research, including the Retail Sales Monitor and Shop Price Index, and the organisation hopes it will become as established.