Retail jobs are the hardest hit during a recession, according to a recent study by specialist recruiter Randstad Business Support.

The study analysed ONS and professional industry data and found that since 2002 the aggregate wage bill for retail jobs fell by 19% from £9bn to £7bn, while the total wage bill for full-time retail sales assistants dropped 18.5% from £8.9bn in 2002 to £7.3bn in 2014.

However, according to Randstad Business Support, the retail sector has enjoyed resurgence in headcount over recent years, with the number of retail workers climbing 11.1% between 2013 and 2015, marking an influx of 50,000 employees.

Managing director of Randstad Business Support, Ruth Jacobs said: “In times of economic crisis, the first thing that often suffers is consumer confidence and high street spending – and the retail sector today still has a way to go to manoeuvre itself out of this long shadow.

”But it’s also a more cyclical and seasonal than others; even the weather can adversely affect retail sales temporarily. When considering career moves, how ‘recession-proof’ or not an occupation may be should definitely be on the checklist. But ultimately it will be governed by your attitude towards risk and security.

“As the economy gets back into its stride, it also adapts and sprouts new employment opportunities – if footfall in high street shops is lagging, it is being made up for by online activity as retail headcount has been driven by online trends.”