Tesco and Royal Mail take Christmas hiring spree to 100,000

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E-tailers, supermarkets and the Royal Mail are looking for around 100,000 temporary workers to look after them during Christmas, amid fears that many will struggle to fill the roles.

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Tesco and Royal Mail have officially launched their festive recruitment campaign today. Tesco is seeking 30,000 temporary workers, half of which roles have already been filled by expanding contracts for employees brought in during the pandemic. Royal Mail is after 20,000 seasonal workers to deal with an annual spike in Christmas cards, gifts and other festive deliveries.

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The job push follows similar announcements from other major retailers. Sainsbury’s is hunting 22,000 Christmas employees, Amazon is hiring 20,000, the John Lewis Partnership hopes to add 7,000 seasonal employees, Morrison’s is looking for 3,000 temps, and Aldi is after 1,500.

In total, major retailers have so far announced plans to hire about 100,000 seasonal workers across the region. That figure is likely to be higher when other smaller retailers are included, with more announcements likely in the coming weeks.

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There are fears that companies may struggle to fill roles. There are already over 1 million open jobs in the UK across the country. Companies are struggling to hire workers after many foreign workers left during the pandemic. Brexit has also removed many seasonal workers from Europe.

“While demand for workers continued to rise last month, staff availability fell at an almost record pace,” said REC chief executive Neil Carberry. “Competition for employees has sharply increased starting salaries — not only in logistics and food processing, but in white-collar businesses as well.”

KPMG and recruitment group REC published their latest UK Jobs Report today. It was found that the growth in the number of vacancies was slow last month, yet there were not enough staff to fill all the open positions.

Anna Parchas at KPMG said: “The steady decline in candidates making themselves available for work is now reaching critical levels and could prevent London from getting back on track before it even starts.”

“The skills shortage exacerbated by Brexit requires immediate action from both businesses and policy makers. We need to retrain and re-skill UK workforce if we are to maintain London’s global competitive position.

The end of the furlough scheme could help ease pressure in the jobs market, with nearly 1 million people coming out of the scheme and re-entering the jobs market. However, there are fears that many of these workers may have the wrong skills for the jobs offered.

The retail sector is already grappling with a shortage of HGV drivers due to a number of factors such as the backlog of driving tests due to the pandemic.

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