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Retail becomes a long-term career choice

Published: Tuesday, 24 July 2007   Category: Retail

The retail industry is shedding its image as a dead-end job and is increasingly offering career development opportunities, according to those working in the sector.

New research released today from Retailchoice.com - a leading retail recruitment website - reveals that workers now believe the industry offers them long-term career prospects. Forty-eight percent feel they have great opportunities to climb the ladder. Less than one in ten (9 percent) of those in retail believe there’s no opportunity to progress.

This ambitious approach is borne out by the calibre of candidates now working within the industry. Thirty per cent of retail workers hold a first degree or postgraduate qualification, whilst 77 per cent of the industry has completed further education with A levels, diplomas and professional qualifications. Just 2 per cent hold no qualifications at all.

Yet despite this, 38 per cent believe that the best retailers are those who have climbed the ladder from the shop floor up.

However, it seems there’s still a stigma to working within the industry. More than one in five (21 percent) say they get fed up of family and friends perceiving their career choice as dead-end. A further 22 per cent believe that the industry needs to shout more about the opportunities to continue to attract new blood into the sector.

Yet on the whole, retailers have job satisfaction. Forty eight per cent admitted to being happy in their current job role, with less than one in ten proclaiming to be extremely unsatisfied with their job.

When it comes to what could be done to improve life, 58 per cent think salaries should be increased. More than half (54 per cent) of workers believe that they don’t get enough flexible working options, and feel the industry should address this.

It seems that confidence in the sector’s performance is also high – 63 percent of retail workers believe they would have no problems finding another job of equal or more salary in the current climate.

The Internet, however, continues to be a threat to retailers. Fifty-five percent say that the web will continue to put pressure on both high-street and independent stores. Almost half (47 per cent) also believe that innovation is key, and feel that their companies need to come up with more interesting and unique products in order to attract the attention of increasingly demanding customers.

Mike Convey, website director for RetailChoice.com comments: “It’s great to see that on the whole, the retail workforce is happier, more motivated and feels that the sector has something to offer them long-term, and we see this as an excellent start. The challenge for the industry in the longer term is to communicate these benefits to a wider audience, championing retail through contact with schools and universities and removing the stigma and poor perceptions of life in retail.”

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