Right now, it should be the busiest time of the year on the high street, but, like everything – it’s different in 2020. With non-essential retail closed (except for click and collect) in England, and other rules throughout the rest of the UK, most of us will be completing our Christmas shopping online.
Fortunately, the temporary closing of shops doesn’t mean employees will be left jobless over Christmas, as the furlough scheme has now been extended until March (as of last week). With this scheme being announced just days before it was supposed to end, critics have argued it’s too little too late, as some companies had already let people go prior to the deadline. Sadly, this isn’t the year of the Christmas temp, and we can only hope that perhaps by next year, that will have changed.
It’s a far cry from the normal state of employment in retail, where many people take on temporary seasonal fashion jobs in Manchester and other cities to provide them with a little extra income. This year, with stores closed completely, and even when open being limited to capacity, things look rather different. Unsurprisingly, the Royal Mail are hiring around 90,000 more seasonal workers to aid with the mounting pressure on their services, whilst Amazon also continues to thrive. Department store John Lewis plan to cut 1,500 jobs in their head office (after already losing 1,300 store employees), whilst Sainsbury’s are closing their store deli counters and many Argos stores in their own bid to cut costs.
Whilst things may sound bleak right now, it has to be said that in the fashion industry, we’re in a better place than we were in March. Fashion brands have had time to consider their function and structure, and adapt it to the new normal. Fashion eCommerce in Manchester was already thriving, with PLT, LookFantastic, Boohoo and more basing their head offices there. There’s also more pressure than ever for brands to have a full 360 approach in order to build consumer trust, which means social media, content and marketing play a more important part then they have in the past. There are roles out there, so if you’re searching for an entry level fashion job, you shouldn’t lose hope. I’m seeing different types of new exciting positions coming in, so although your ‘dream role’ might not be available right now, I may be able to connect you to something you perhaps hadn’t even considered! The times may be changing, but it’s important to remain positive and hopeful.
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