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North West

The retail sector in North West employs 324,798 people, which accounts for nearly 14% of the total retail workforce in England. Out of the nine English regions, the North West has experienced the third largest decline in retail employee numbers during 2001-2006 (4.6%). 87% of retailers in the North West employ 10 people or less. Between 2001-2006, there was a 15% decrease in the number of businesses that employ 10 people or less, and a 27% decline in medium size businesses (11-49). Businesses that employ over 200 employees experienced an increase of 7.5% between 2001 and 2006.

Workforce key statistics:

  • 43% of the workforce is employed full-time
  • 63% is female
  • Only 39% of managers and senior officials have NVQ level 3 or higher qualification, and 33% of sales and customer service staff have below level 2 qualification.

Vacancies statistics:

  • In the North West, 12% of employers have at least one vacancy, the fourth highest of all nine regions. 4% of employers report having hard-to-fill vacancies and 3% report vacancies resulting from skills shortages.
  • In the North West, 67% of retail businesses report hard-to-fill vacancies in sales and customer service occupations. The percentage of employers reporting hard-to-fill vacancies in managerial roles is below the national average.
  • Of the companies in the North West reporting skill-shortage vacancies, 59% stated they had vacancies in sales and customer service roles, 23% in skilled trades and 13% in associate professional roles.
  • Employers in the North West find technical, practical or job-specific skills (74%) oral communication (73%) and team working skills (66%) the most difficult to find in applicants. These results are considerably higher than the national average.

Source: North West Regional Background Brief 2008