The Employment Potential Within Scotlands Retail Sector
Despite the news earlier in June 2013 that retail growth in Scotland was adrift of the rest of the UK, the sector still offers a wide range of career opportunities in the country, for career changers and recent graduates alike.
And while many think only of retail jobs stacking shelves in supermarkets, or serving teas and coffees in local cafes, the reality is much different: the Scottish retail sector offers a wide choice of career options: customer office, marketing, sales and IT as just some of the sub-sectors that require talented individuals within retail.
Retail is, as a process, a long line of individual sectors, from buying the goods, all the way through to selling the goods (at a higher price, of course) and everything in between. The retail sector calls for talented individuals who can buy at competitive prices; sell at a premium; manage the logistics process; manage relationships with clients; market the goods to customers; sell the goods to customers; control stock levels and a plethora of other things. Clearly, the sector is vast.
What's more, Scotland in particular has retail sectors that are essential to other industries that are key to the nation's economy. For example, the country's tourism industry offers fairly unique opportunities within retail - such as selling whale watching tours in the Hebrides and tours of Edinburgh Castle. Additionally, convincing tourists from all over Scotland and from all over the world that their trip to Scotland isn't complete without a tour of the whiskey distilleries in Oban, requires some strong sellers: not only ensuring tourists get to enjoy Scotland's most famous product, but giving workers an opportunity to work in a fast paced and exciting industry.
Many people at the beginnings of their careers would be forgiven for thinking that the global financial crisis and the consequent recession has put an end to any graduate opportunities, not just in retail but in any other sector. And while this is true to an extent - some industries have suffered more than others - the retail sector continues to present good career prospects, both in the high street, and also in the online sector. The big national supermarkets, for example, continue to offer management training programmes as well as specialist training programmes in marketing, HR and operations, amongst others. These often come with a very competitive starting salary, international opportunities and excellent prospects, such as progression to regional management and potentially directorship.
The retail sector has taken a fair amount of stick from the media who fail to see past the boarded-up shops on numerous high streets across the country. While it is impossible to ignore these vacant units on many shopping streets, it is in fact an opportunity. The retail sector is adapting to the modern world, with many retailers going online, either exclusively or along side their presence in bricks and mortar. For employees, this gives a fantastic opportunity, with retailers needing - now more than ever due to the crowded internet marketplace - expertise in online marketing and IT, just as much as workers in sales, supply chain management and customer service.