Starting out in retail

Retailing is one of the most meritocratic career paths you can choose as it allows employees to rise to the top based on their experience and merits.
The old image of a retail career involving either shelf-replenishment or confinement behind a till is no longer valid. Opportunities have evolved that can take staff with the right qualities all the way to the challenges of management. Even within the management layer there are a large number of ways to progress and develop. Traditionally, many retailers have used their pool of existing talent to promote from within even for the most senior of positions.

Vision and intelligence needed

Retailing needs people who can think strategically, make quick decisions, manage money and are adept with modern technology while simultaneously understanding the needs and desires of customers. It is an industry for employees with vision and intelligence plus a strong work ethic.


In return, retail may offer more flexible working hours than other sectors and additional financial benefits such as bonuses and commission.
People without a degree are less likely to face discrimination in the retail sector than in many others. Although a higher qualification is a useful indication of a candidate's ability to study to a certain level, retail hopefuls can gain entry to the sector without a string of academic qualifications to their name.
The stability of the industry is another appealing factor. Although consumer spending fluctuates according to the state of the economy, food, clothing and other essentials are bought even during difficult times. Consumers in developed economies tend to buy luxury goods at all times, generating the need for ever more sophisticated retail outlets.

Job opportunities

Opportunities and career paths within retail are varied. It is estimated that it can take as many as 100 people to make a product or service available to the consumer. Among these are district managers, store managers, buyers, planners and personnel staff. At shop floor level there are yet more roles, including sales assistants, sales managers and stock supervisors.
Michael Page Retail has a prestigious portfolio of retail clients offering the latest positions. Our consultants have the expertise to guide candidates from all backgrounds seeking employment at different levels of experience.