15% of retailers are hiring to meet online demand as COVID-19 drives “technological revolution” in retail

UK retailers are in the midst of an ecommerce hiring boom as the sharp rise in online sales during lockdown has created demand for new staff.

According to new research from Barclays Corporate Banking, 15 per cent of UK retailers have created roles specifically to help them expand their ecommerce operations.

This digital sales hiring spree comes as the wider retail sector endures unprecedented hardship leading to more than 24,000 jobs being cut this year so far.

“The last few months have undoubtedly been challenging for the sector, and we are hearing frequent news of jobs being put at risk,” Barclays head of retail and wholesale Karen Johnson said.

“Against that backdrop, however, e-commerce and digital sales have demonstrated significant improvement and have helped to maintain year-on-year growth for many businesses.

READ MORE: Over 24,000 jobs scrapped due to retail administrations

“Despite the unprecedented uncertainty and disruption, the results of our survey are encouraging, and it is great to see retail leaders confident about their prospects. Many are using the ‘new normal’ to innovate and adapt their business models.”

The research, which saw Barclays interview over 300 senior retail executives, also found that 26 per cent of businesses thought the pandemic had accelerated a “technological revolution” in retail.

A further third of retailers said they had invested in website upgrades to capitalise on this new shift online, while 32 per cent said they had started to accept new payment methods and a further 26 per cent had embraced data analytics for the first time.

This has led to increased optimism moving forward, with 94 per cent of those surveyed stating they are optimistic about growth opportunities next year.

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