Working In retail

what is retail all about and what about prospects?

What retail has become is a journey. Starting with a person wanting something and ending with them getting it. With people working in retail facilitating just how pleasant and smooth that journey is. Often it can be these people who determine whether the customer actually purchases the product or service on offer or not.

As this is one of the largest employment sectors on the planet, many of our first roles are within retail. Where we gain invaluable base skills that are transferable to other sectors or that we can build upon for more senior retail roles.  

Of course retail as an industry has evolved more than most in recent years. Due in large part to the “digital age” we live in, a lot of retail is online and therefore there are a lot more online retail job roles. Though the responsibilities of retail roles both physical and online are almost always focused on providing the best customer journey possible.

Roles in this sector are vast and varied as retail encompasses so many different products and services; clothes, food, jewellery, skincare, toys, electronics, furniture, the list goes on and on. As an industry, retail has taken a major hit due to the pandemic. However, as things return to normal there is an abundance of retail opportunities resurfacing along with this. 

There is also opportunity to further yourself in retail. Depending on the size of the retailer, they tend to have management or training schemes that will help people climb the ladder to management and senior management roles. This is always something to consider when thinking of applying for a job in retail.

entry level roles in retail

The roles in this list often don’t require qualifications or ask for a minimum of GCSE’s or equivalent.

These roles are great for those who:

Are exploring careers

Are looking to gain first time experience in a job role where base skills can be developed.

Need part time work to support living whilst studying or pursuing another venture.

Are reaching retirement and wish to work in a reduced role.

Apprentice Jeweller

Boutique Assistant 

Customer Service Advisor

Customer Service Apprentice

Customer Service

Representative

Online Customer Service Representative 

Order Picker

Receptionist

Retail Assistant

Retail Administrator

Stock Clerk

Sales Assistant   

Warehouse Operative  

Social Media Apprentice

Marketing Apprentice

IT support

Professional roles in retail

These roles normally require some level of experience or education that have provided you with the skills necessary for these roles. These can be gained through development in entry level roles.

There are many opportunities for further career growth. With the aim of having employees learn and experience as many different areas of the business as possible for them to progress further. 

Professionals in these roles tend to work a variety of shift patterns. Including early mornings, late evenings and weekends. They will also normally be required to cover people who are off sick.

Customer Service Supervisor      

Customer Service Team Leader    

Department Manager     

Floor Manager                 

Product Specialist 

Promotions Coordinator  

Section Manager

Selling Coach     

Supervisor                     

Team Manager                

Team Leader

Website Developer

UX / UI Developer

Data Technician

IT Support

Business Analyst

Project Manager

E-commerce Systems Manager

IT Programme Manager

Marketing Lead

Digital Marketing Lead

HR

Public Relations

Data Analyst

Supply Chain Manager

Automation Tester

Recruitment

senior roles in retail

Roles in this list will nearly always require a professional qualification and vast experience within the field. 

Many professionals in Senior Leadership roles have worked their way up the ladder, gaining knowledge and skills through more junior roles and management courses. Or they have transferred from another industry with skills that make them appropriate for these roles. 

Area Management

Assistant Merchandise Manager

Assistant Store Manager

Associate Product Manager

District Sales Manager

Divisional Manager

Technology Chief

General Manager

Head of Customer Experience

Regional Manager

Senior Customer Complaints Officer

E-commerce Systems Lead

Senior Customer Service Executive

Senior Customer Service Representative Branch Manager

Senior Customer Support Engineer

Store Manager

Head of Marketing

Supply Chain Lead

Recruitment

Human Resources

skills required

General: comfortable with working in a fast paced environment. Decent communication skills as will often need to interact with customers and coordinate with colleagues. Be able to work under pressure during busy retail hours. Having the drive to develop and learn.

Role specific skills: often acquired either whilst working or whilst training. For example if your role will be as a cashier you will be given the required till training and on how to handle money. Sometimes the specific skills you will learn will depend on the business rather than the role, as many retail organisations will have specified aspects of their staff that they want showcased for customers. However, if your are applying for a managerial or senior role you will likely be required to demonstrate leadership skills and organisational skills.

Transferable Skills: for many first time employees retail is the industry where you will likely learn base and transferable skills for other industries. Though if you have been in previous sectors such as administration, skills gained could still be transferable to retail. Skills such as using different methods of communication, attention to detail and time management.

Experience Required

For entry level roles – no experience is usually required but sometimes seen as beneficial. For most entry level roles the employer will want to know how you can apply yourself to the role in question. Look out for apprenticeships too.

Often mid and senior level positions can be achieved through starting at entry level and working your way up the ladder of the company through courses, secondments, management schemes and other career progression opportunities.

Potential To Work from Home / Flexibility

Traditionally, there has been little scope to work from home if in a retail role. Since most roles in retail are centred on interacting with customers. However, due to both the digital age and the pandemic, online retail is at an all time high and therefore there are more job roles in online retail and this has resulted in more remote working opportunities within these roles.

In terms of flexible working, retail as an industry is not historically the best option when looking for flexible working roles. However, as other sectors have become more vocal about flexible working being the future of work and more businesses incorporating flexible working policies, there are organisations in retail doing the same. Though retail as a sector still have a long way to go in this area, the future in retail is beginning to look more flexible for employees. 

Inclusivity

As one of the largest  public facing sectors in the world, retail is at the forefront of making their workplaces as diverse and inclusive as possible. Organisations are taking the greatest care to ensure that every employees needs are taken into account, whether it be mental health needs, disabilities, ethnic background etc.

These come in the form of presenting equal opportunities for everyone regardless of their age, gender, ethnic background or sexuality. Wanting to create a positive working environment where everyone feels safe and valued.

More and more businesses are ensuring they have adequate mental health support in place for all of their employees. As most roles within in retail are face to face, employees mental health must come first.

opportunities in retail
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