Get Connected Blog

The Importance of People - Retail as a Career

As passionate retailers, we have been told numerous times (and expect to be continued to be told) that retail isn’t a serious career (we would like some of the people who told us this to actually spend some time in retail and see just how serious it is!).  We have both had careers outside of retail and have both always come back to the sector we love, realising just how rewarding a career in Retail can be.  We are passionate about retail and would love to encourage young kiwi’s to see what retail has to offer them. 

Despite being the largest employment sector in the country, retail in New Zealand continues to be looked down on as a career option. Large retailers such as The Warehouse have fantastic training and development programmes but could a more formal approach, such as internships such as those run by John Lewis (http://www.johnlewisgrads.co.uk/placements-and-internships/), Next (http://careers.next.co.uk/index.aspx), ASOS (https://asoscareers.asos.com/ASOS/EmploymentListings/Internships.html) and Arcadia (http://www.arcadiagroup.co.uk/careers), be taken to ensure as a sector we are attracting talent?

We thought we would ask some young kiwi’s why they haven’t considered a career in retail and what as a sector we could do to highlight strong career path options within New Zealand’s retail environment.

Our First Guest Blogger is Taylar aged 21:

Why did you choose your particular path?

I have just completed my third year of a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in media and communications with a minor in art history. In my last year of high school without any understanding of what jobs were needed or ‘secure’ I chose these subjects simply because I liked and enjoyed them.   

Why did you not investigate a career in retail?

After high school I believed my only option was to go to university as that would provide me with a greater education and set me a part from my peers that had decided to work after high school. I understood retail to be working on your feet all day, serving customers and stocking shelves, tasks that did not sound very rewarding.    

If retailers had come to your school and shown an internship programme with clear career path would that have increased the chance that you would have chosen a career in retail?

Having now finished a degree and looking for a career, I understand that a career in retail is much more than I had originally perceived.

With a good mix of friends both studying and working, many of them in the same position as myself have now been left second guessing whether three years of study was worth it when we could have the much needed ‘experience’ that all job positions are looking for and that our working friends already have.

The last year of high school is crucial to everyone when deciding whether to work or study as many universities visit and explain to you the benefits of furthering your education. Retail work is not addressed at school, and perhaps if it had been I would have been more tempted to choose a career path in the retail sector, as now after university and looking for job opportunities I am finding out that companies such as The Warehouse have many opportunities for you to develop and succeed in many different positions with training and incentives involved.

Retail positions, I have also learnt, encourage and offer discounts so that their employees wear the product and, as a lover of fashion I think this is fantastic as I would be able to keep with the latest trends and sell something I love. With friends in retail I have also seen the pride they take in their work and the happiness when they do well in things such as in a mystery shop or when meeting individual and/or team goals.       

We found Taylars thoughts very interesting, and they certainly highlight that retail is an often overlooked career - We would love your feedback and thoughts on this topic so feel free to place your comments below. 

Tune in over the next few days to read what other members of Generation Y & Z consider when looking to their future. 

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