The popularity of self-checkout machines in supermarkets has caused a decline in the number of shop floor vacancies, new figures have revealed.
The overall number of checkout-related openings has fallen from 2,748 in last October to 2,020 this month, according to job search engine Adzuna.
It added that checkout roles previously accounted for under 58 percent of supermarket jobs in October 2016, while last month they only accounted for 15 percent.
At the same time the number of self-checkout machines in supermarkets has increased from 53,000 to around 80,000 in the last five years, according to analytics platform RBR Data Services.
The figures will cause fears among job searchers in the run up to Christmas, who often count on supermarkets taking on extra staff to cope with festive shoppers.
Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter told The Telegraph that supermarkets are more keen to hire sales assistants rather than checkout-related staff to carry out jobs such as restocking shelves, stock checks and preparing click and collect orders.
He added: ‘Shifts for such workers often start from early mornings to late at night as the supermarkets prepare for busy shopping days, particularly around Christmas.’
It comes after online job adverts fell by 1.6% in September from August, bucking the usual end-of-summer bounce in job postings, and advertised salaries fell by the same amount, Adzuna said.
Mr Hunter said: ‘September traditionally sees a surge in job market activity but the figures we’re seeing this year could signal a cooling off of the job market, which had shown signs of resilience earlier in the year.’
The Office for National Statistics said earlier this month its measure of job vacancies fell to a two-year low of 988,000 in the three months to September.