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The Importance of People - Retail as a Career Part III

Our last blog in our Retail as a Career series is from Lucy, 18.

Question- Why is retail in New Zealand not seen as a viable career option by Generation Y?

Having just completed my last few days at high school I'm still feeling slightly confused about my future. I've decided to study at Victoria in Wellington but I'm still hopelessly lost as to what I want to study. 

Why did you choose your particular path?

I chose this path as it feels like the required thing to do to get a well-paid and well respected job.

Why did you not investigate a career in retail?

Going to university is the expected thing to do in my family. I don't think I really had a choice. Plus I don't want to earn minimum wage and I don't feel like it would broaden my capabilities or stretch my capacity to learn.

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?

Even if they did come, I would have been too busy at lunchtime with different committees to turn up to.  But the answer would still be no, it just doesn't interest me.

What we have found interesting from all three respondents is that:

1)          There is low or no emphasis put on helping our young people transition from school life to either university or a career, this is such an important time in our young people’s lives we need to have focus on assisting and guiding our leaders of tomorrow.

2)          Retail is perceived by Generation Y as shop floor, when as a sector we have so much more to offer.  I know that Auckland University offers a Bachelor in Business majoring in Retail which is a fantastic step forward for Retail in NZ but wouldn’t it be great to have a more accessible course for other area’s (hard to believe that life doesn’t end at the Bombay Hills I know).  Trish from RetailWorld Resourcing has also been championing the cause in Auckland and if anyone can get Generation Y involved in retail it’s Trish, but could this be taken wider to get people in provincial NZ behind what Retail has to offer?

3)          All three girls (and sorry there were no boys in this series, we will try harder to get our Generation Y boys involved next time) have applied for Warehouse positions over the busy Christmas period.  From their perspective they see recent changes made by the Warehouse as something positive for retail and demonstrates clear career progression

Retail has a long way to go to help change the perceptions held of the sector.  Let’s hope we can see a turnaround in this over the coming years, as retail in New Zealand evolves.  

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