I began my retail career at the age of 16 as a Sales Associate in a clothes shop. Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked for many different retail companies. I’ve learned the basics – how to manage the cash register, answer questions from customers and perfect my folding technique (a skill I still use to this day!)
A career in retail offers varied and challenging work and the chance to learn valuable skills. It is one of the most diverse, fast-paced and exciting sectors to work in and that’s why I love it.
Three and a half years ago I moved to Ireland to experience different cultures and broaden my knowledge within the fashion retail industry. I had to work my way up from the bottom, starting as a part-time Sales Associate and working up to Trainee Manager and Floor Manager.
Then the opportunity came for me to move up into Department Manager position with another company. After a while, I was made redundant along with the rest of my team and started to look for a new job. Luckily, I got an amazing opportunity with Cpl and started my career as a Retail Recruitment Consultant.
The retail industry in Ireland
Retail is Ireland’s largest industry and largest private sector employer, with a presence in every city, town and village across the country.
The Irish retail sector employs almost 285,000 people which is 14% of national employment.
Retail is the biggest contributor to the Irish exchequer, generating 23% of total tax receipts in Ireland. As such, retail plays a crucial role in stimulating economic growth and enterprise, sustaining employment and supporting lively and vibrant communities across Ireland.
The steady growth within the industry over the past two years has resulted in a very healthy retail market and a variety of retail career options.
With domestic consumer demand steadily improving, the need for more retail staff from entry level to senior level jobs is evident and companies are increasingly looking overseas to fill vacancies.
Why work in retail?
Variety and Career Progression
There are a variety of career paths in the retail industry (buying, visual merchandising, design, logistics etc.) each leading to a multitude of career options.
The retail industry is an industry where you can start at the bottom and work your way from the shop floor up to the top.
Once you’ve moved from an entry-level job, there are opportunities for well-paid department and district management positions, especially with larger brands.
There are lots of choices across retail which makes it easier to find a role that you’re passionate about. Specialities include luxury goods, department stores, high-street stores, electrical goods, grocery, discounters, cosmetics, fashion, accessories and over the counter.
If the idea of a static routine doesn’t appeal to you, then retail might be the career path for you. While retail certainly isn’t a 9-5 job, there is plenty of room for flexibility, through shift patterns, part-time hours, late-night, weekend and other variable schedules.
Working in retail offers benefits that an office job doesn’t, providing an interesting lifestyle and a varied career path.
You can work in a sector of retail that suits your personality, hobbies and interests and you will often receive staff discounts.
Most importantly many of the skills acquired from working in retail will be beneficial to your future employment endeavours – whether that’s in retail or a different industry.
What skills are needed to work in retail for 2019?
While there is no such thing as the ‘perfect retail candidate’ – to succeed in retail employers look for personality, energy, a passion for the retail world and good communication skills.
The great thing about working in retail is that you don’t necessarily need a qualification in the area or experience for entry-level jobs such as Sales or Stockroom Assistant.
The one piece of advice I’d give you before applying for a retail role is to ensure that your CV is detailed, clear and lists your key achievements to date.
This is your chance to sell yourself as best as you can if your CV is unclear or formatted badly, you make it to the interview stage. If you’re unsure of how to write a good CV check out our free CV Handbook.
Your future in retail
Despite sizeable growth in the e-commerce industry, Irish retailers remain optimistic about the future and have plans to grow. Within Cpl, we are constantly hiring for a variety of retail jobs, retail jobs that require no experience, such as sales jobs, to senior level store manager and area manager jobs.
If you feel that Retail is a good fit for you and you want to progress with your career check out our open vacancies or contact me or my colleagues in the Retail team for more details.