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The retail sector in the London employs 368,723 people, which accounts for over 15% of the total retail workforce in England. 88% of retailers in the London region employ 10 people or less. Between 2001-2006, there was a slight increase in the number of businesses employing under five people, but all other sizes of establishment have seen a decrease.

Workforce key statistics:

  • 48 of the workforce is employed full-time
  • 56% is female, compared to 62% in UK
  • Only 45% of managers and senior officials have NVQ level 3 or higher qualification and 14% have a below NVQ level 2 qualification.
  • Staff with a below NVQ level 2 qualification account for 25% of sales and customer service staff and 34% of elementary staff . Of the employees working in elementary occupations, 18% have no qualifications.

Vacancies statistics:

  • In London, 51% of retail businesses report hard-to-fill vacancies in sales and customer service occupations. 3% of employers report hard-to-fill vacancies in managerial roles, which is well below the national average (7%).
  • Of the companies in London reporting skill-shortage vacancies, 60% stated they had vacancies in sales and customer service roles, 11% in skilled trades and 11% in associate professional roles.
  • Retail employers in London find oral communication (63%), customer handling (61%) and technical, practical or job specific skills (54%) the most difficult skills to find in applicants.
  • The proportion of employers in London reporting a lack of foreign language skills is double the English average.

Source: London Regional Background Brief 2008