With a workforce of nearly 3 million, the retail industry is the UK's largest private sector employment provider, which in turn means employers are always looking for retail staff. It is responsible for bringing jobs to about 11% of the nation's workers and is a major economic force in the UK.
There are an estimated 280,000 retail locations throughout the UK, which together account for more than a third of all annual spending in the UK. In 2012 UK retail sales were over £311 billion.Today, online retail is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the industry, and there are now more than 600,000 jobs specialising in this field.
Common positions listed through recruitment agencies include Sales Assistant, Visual Merchandising, and Purchasing Agent. Salaries range from £15K to about £50K annually, but the wide majority of staff in retail earn in the £15-25K range. The average income for retail workers in the UK is £25,000, but in London that average rises to £37,000 annually. Retail staff are sometimes asked to work holidays, evening, and weekends. Many positions available in the sector are part-time, but there are countless opportunities for full-time employment as well. The UK's largest employers are Aldi, John Lewis Partnership, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and Next.