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East Midlands

The retail sector in the East Midlands employs 191,457 people, which accounts for nearly 8% of the total retail workforce in England. 87% of retailers in the East Midlands employ 10 people or less. Between 2001-2006, there was a large decrease in the number of retail businesses that employ 25-199 employees. This appears to have been balanced by increases in businesses employing 5-24 and 200 plus employees.

Workforce key statistics:

  • 43% of the workforce is employed full-time
  • 64% is female
  • Only 49% of managers and senior officials have NVQ level 3 or higher qualification. Over one in five of this occupational group have a below NVQ level 2 qualification.
  • Staff qualified below NVQ level 2 account for 39% of sales and customer service staff and 50% of elementary staff. 23% of employees in elementary occupations do not have any qualifications.

Vacancies statistics:

  • In the East Midlands, 12% of employers have at least one vacancy, the lowest percentage of all nine regions. 4% of employers in the region report having hard-to-fill vacancies and 1% report vacancies resulting from skills shortages.
  • The proportion of vacancies for administrative staff in the East Midlands retail sector is higher than the national average by 5%.
  • 62% of retail businesses report hard-to-fill vacancies in sales and customer service occupations. The proportion of employers reporting hard-to-fill vacancies in elementary occupations was over double the national average.
  • The East Midlands has the lowest proportion of employers reporting hard-to-fill vacancies in managerial roles.
  • Of the companies in the East Midlands reporting skill-shortage vacancies, 63% stated they had vacancies in sales and customer service roles, 18% in administrative roles and 10% in associate professional roles.
  • Retail employers in the East Midlands find technical or job specific skills (33%), customer handling skills (29%) and team working (14%) the most difficult skills to find.

Source: East Midlands Regional Background Brief 2008