New figures reveal the young face of retail

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40% of retail staff hired in the UK this year are aged below 21.

More than four out of 10 new employees taken on by the retail sector in the last 12 months have been aged between 16 and 21, new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have revealed.

A survey of BRC members responsible for more than a million retail jobs has found 42% of new starters were aged 21 or younger, which equates to at least 13,500 jobs for this age group.

Across the UK, retailing also provides 42% of 16 to 17-year-olds in employment with a job. Similarly, it provides 40% of employment for 18 to 19-year-olds and 25% for 20 to 24-year-olds, said the BRC.

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The BRC yesterday hosted a debate at the Liberal Democrat conference considering what retail contributes to society.

"We’ve produced clear and detailed evidence that retail is one of the sectors most likely to give young people the job breaks they need,” said BRC director general, Stephen Robertson.

“The August riots were blamed by some on growing frustration among that generation. School and college leavers are facing an incredibly tough time getting into work. Retail found itself in the frontline of the attacks, ironic when it’s actually in the frontline of the solution,” he added.

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