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North East

The retail sector in North East employs 111,972 people, which accounts for nearly 5% of the total retail workforce in England. 85% of retailers in the North East employ 10 people or less. Between 2001-2006, there was a 3% decrease in the number of businesses that employ 10 people or less. Medium-sized businesses (11-49) have seen a slight increase, while businesses that employ over 200 employees have grown over by 11%.

Workforce key statistics:

  • 41% of the workforce is employed full-time
  • 66% is female
  • Only 44% of managers and senior officials have NVQ level 3 or higher qualification. A quarter of this occupational group have a below NVQ level 2 qualification.
  • Staff without a NVQ level 2 qualification account for 43% of sales and customer service staff and 40% of elementary staff. There are 15% of employees in elementary occupations without a qualification.

Vacancies statistics:

  • In the North East, 13% of employers have at least one vacancy, the fourth highest of all nine regions, 5% report having hard-to-fill vacancies and 1% report vacancies resulting from skill-shortages.
  • Of the companies in the North East reporting skill-shortage vacancies, 15% stated they had vacancies in elementary staff roles and 13% in skilled trades.
  • In the North East, 33% 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 was nearly three times the national average at 20%.
  • Employers in the North East find problem solving skills (59%), written communication (55%) and management skills (51%) the most difficult skills to find in applicants.

Source: North East Regional Background Brief 2008