October retail figures signal a competitive seasonal hire market

Data compiled by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, showed that the value of retail sales rose 0.6 percent compared with October 2018, indicating that British shoppers are seemingly shrugging off the current political uncertainties. Furthermore, figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that, Britain is on course for a Christmas jobs bonanza with seasonal work expected to hit a record high.

While this is welcome news for the retail space & positive for workers looking to put extra Pounds in the pocket over the festive period, it also means that those who are available, can afford to be more selective in the types of jobs they accept, thus making the end of year hiring crush more competitive and expensive for those companies who have traditionally relied on this employment surge.

Where seasonal hiring was once the perfect solution to increase outputs between the Black Friday/Cyber Monday to Christmas/New Year retail peak, British companies may not be able to rely on the regular annual hiring boost this year.

Logistics companies can mitigate this in two key ways: first, by improving productivity in existing employees by engaging employees through practices such as incentivized rewards programs and gamification of productivity results.

Secondly, the use of ‘smart’ Cobots. Increasingly, the man and machine co-worker partnership will become the norm, meaning that many tasks humans either cannot easily do, or simply do not want to can be allocated to their mechanical co-workers – in the process freeing up human seasonal workers to do more productive, higher-value tasks.


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