Unemployed retail workers facing a tough job market with fewer jobs available


Shop workers left unemployed by store closures and business restructures are facing a tough job market in the retail sector.

Since January, Stuff has reported on at least 71 store closures across 14 retail chains, including The Warehouse, Michael Hill Jewellery, Max and Bunnings.

On Monday, The Warehouse Group told staff of a proposal to eliminate 782 roles through restructuring of its stores network plus another 137 jobs would be lost through store closures.

Online job search company Seek said on July 14 that in the three months to June 30the number of retail jobs advertised were down 40 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

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Seek had 3273 retail jobs advertised nationwide on Monday.

Retail job numbers are still down, according to both Seek and TradeMe. (File photo)

Maarten Holl/Stuff

Retail job numbers are still down, according to both Seek and TradeMe. (File photo)

Trade Me head of jobs Jeremy Wade said that while the job market was bouncing back faster and stronger than anticipated, there was no denying that it was tough market for job hunters in some sectors.

The number of applications on the site was up 61 per cent in the second quarter from the same time last year, “meaning there is plenty of competition”, Wade said.

While retail job listings fell 18 per cent in June, compared to June last year, the sector was showing signs of improving, he said.

In May retail listings were down 68 per cent and in April they were down 88 per cent year-on-yea, he said.

Frontline Retail Recruitment senior consultant Imtiaz Mohammed said it was a tough market for businesses and job seekers.

“The market has changed from what it was and it is probably working on 20 per cent. It’s not a great market for retailers,” he said.

“This means there is high unemployment and low job numbers. It is very competitive and this means there are a lot of applications for roles.”

Mohammed estimated there were, on average, 200 to 250 applications for each retail position.

He said job seekers needed to understand what they are applying for.

“Don’t apply for things that are not relevant.”

First Union general secretary Dennis Maga says businesses are using Covid-19 as cover to push through restructures.

SUPPLIED

First Union general secretary Dennis Maga says businesses are using Covid-19 as cover to push through restructures.

First Union head Dennis Maga said workers in non-food retail that were being made redundant were paying the consequence of past poor decisions by businesses.

He said Stats NZ figures showed that retail had bounced back to almost previous spending levels but businesses were using the Covid-19 crisis to right-size their businesses.

“We are trying to get them to understand that the thing that is important in this pandemic is the people, the people, the people,” Maga said.

“We are trying to keep people in employment in their community.”



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