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Record low in retail management jobs points to skills gap

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Management roles in retail hit a record low in the second half of 2012 as 3,500 fewer jobs were advertised compared with the previous six months, according to a report published by recruitment site RetailChoice.

Its annual Retail Employment Insight Report shows a 25% decline in available UK retail jobs year on year.

The report also gives some positive news, with jobs in visual merchandising seeing year-on-year growth of 38% and e-commerce roles rising by 42%.

The fashion sector was badly hit, with a 21% decline in jobs – around 3,750 fewer – compared with the same time last year.

The report reveals that advertised jobs in e-commerce received just an average of six applications per job. RetailChoice says this highlights the specific skills required to successfully fill such positions.

Advertisements for e-commerce roles requiring specialist expertise rose by more than 50% year on year, demonstrating an ongoing shift towards online retail and the increased demand for expert staff.

Neil Brodie, commercial director, RetailChoice, said: "With the explosion of e-commerce and other forms of multi-channel retailing, candidates now need to be capable of offering specialist skills in areas such as technology and design.

"In general, there is a need to boost training and skills within the retail industry as a whole to reduce the skills gap, which is becoming ever more apparent as the high street continues to suffer."

Brodie added: "With a number of well-known casualties already in 2013, such as Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster, the need to adapt or die has never been more stark."