Retail Jobs and Careers

The retail industry is one of the largest areas of employment in the US, employing millions of people each year across the country. It offers a broad range of careers, from unskilled to specialist to management, and provides many opportunities for training and promotion. Salary expectations are also looking up for retail employees, making it a better choice for entry level work than in recent years, and the sector is showing strong signs of growth.

Most Common Job Titles and Descriptions

  • Store Associates, Clerks

    Retail stores hire a variety of staff, from clerks, associates, and baggers to security staff, cleaners, and warehouse operatives. The customer facing roles are generally centered around providing an exceptional experience for shoppers and guests.
  • Warehouse and Facilities Crews

    Warehouse, cleaning, and facilities crews are typically involved in the back-end customer experience and facilities management, which can range from unloading and stocking store inventory to cleaning store fronts and maintaining store signage.
  • Management Positions

    Retail stores generally have section, general and district managers, with many stores hiring and promoting from within. Each of these roles requires a different level of responsibility for the running of a retail store or outlet, including staff management, inventory control, auditing, problem solving, overseeing the safety of staff and visitors, and maintaining high levels of satisfaction.
  • Specialized In-store Roles

    Many larger stores offer more than just products to purchase. Large supermarket chains often have in-store pharmacies, opticians, photo labs and dry cleaners, and big box home and garden retailers offer fitting, installation and repair services.

Salary Statistics and Growth

While retail salaries are typically not competitive compared to other industries, the pressure on retailers to provide a competitive wage has never been higher. In order to compete for employees, many major retailers, including WalMart, Gap and Target Corp have announced company-wide employee wage increases, and others are predicted to follow. This, coupled with the overall growth of the retail market and the increased focus on quality, resulting from increased competition, means that larger retailers are forced to focus more on retaining good quality employees. In geographic areas of high population growth, this means that quality retail positions are becoming easier to find.

Job Field Growth or Decline

Employment in the retail sector increased again with a rise of around 30,000 new retail jobs in 2015 over 2014. This is great news for those seeking retail employment, as coupled with the general high turnover rate associated with the retail sector, getting a job in retail may now be easier than it has been in previous years. As the economy continues to improve, this upward retail trend is also likely to continue, with additional positive impacts on other related industries like warehousing and logistics.

Job Certifications, Training, Education Requirements

Retail companies are particularly good at providing advancement opportunities for staff. On the job training, eLearning, and management in training programs are very common in this industry. If you’re hoping to start at an entry level retail position and work your way up within the company, it is definitely worth evaluating each potential employer’s employee development program and choosing an employer that will offer you opportunities for internal growth and upward career movement.

At the management and upper management level, most skills and work experiences will be transferrable between retail companies. This makes the growing retail industry a good choice for individuals who want to work their way into management and don’t want to be stuck working for one organization for their whole career.

Retail companies offer a wide variety of job opportunities because of the breadth of services they offer. Some jobs that include somewhat specialized medical, financial or legal skills may require additional training or certifications.

Where Can I Go From Here?

Retail careers offer a variety of opportunities to entry level candidates and to those who chose to opt out of higher education in favour of more immediate employment. Those who choose this route can take advantage of retail company training programs and management training programs in order to gain highly transferrable skills and experience.

Top 20 US Employers in This Field

This list comes from Fortune.com.

  1. Goodmans Interior Structures
  2. Room & Board
  3. DSW
  4. Zappos.com
  5. Sheetz
  6. JM Family Enterprises
  7. The Container Store
  8. Nugget Market
  9. Build-a-Bear Workshop
  10. CustomInk
  11. QuikTrip
  12. Wegmans Food Markets
  13. CarMax
  14. L.L. Bean
  15. Publix Super Markets
  16. Zappos.com
  17. Whole Foods Market
  18. Pro Athlete
  19. Etsy
  20. ZOZI

Sources:

  • https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm
  • http://www.payscale.com/
  • By Staff Writer, SimplyJobs