Retail jobs get a lot of bad press for being entry-level, minimal skill and low-paying. The adjectives may be true, but it doesn’t mean that retail jobs don’t have a lot of potential.
Companies that employ a lot of retail employees, like Wal-Mart or other big-box discount stores have lots of different positions within the store to move up into. An entry-level job at Wal-Mart offers a job, a paycheck and an opportunity to learn and grow a career.
Opportunity is the focus of a recent Wal-Mart advertising campaign, with real employees singing the praises of a Wal-Mart career and how they started out small and rose to the top. From college tuition programs to in-store training, promotions and bonuses, Wal-Mart gives employees a reason to stay and build a career with them. An article on Wal-Mart’s webpage states that over 300,000 employees have been with the company over 10 years, and 75 percent of store management started out as hourly workers. It’s difficult to argue with those statistics.
During the holiday season, hundreds of thousands of individuals compete for a chance to take a retail job to earn extra money for gifts and all the trimmings. It’s not just the money (which can be a little more than minimum wage) but employee store discounts and holiday sales price cuts that can add up. Outside the holidays, job seekers are happy to take an entry level job, either to have something until something better comes along or just to pay the bills.
Retail jobs have a lot of benefits. They usually have a flexible schedule. Companies are willing to work around an employee’s school schedule or even another job. Most have some type of benefits—at minimum an employee discount. Opportunities for advancement are plentiful, due in part to the high turnover rate in retail. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, turnover rates in retail top 67 percent, and for some it is 100 percent. With so many vacancies to fill, it’s easier and less expensive to promote from within.
Retail experience includes sales, customer service, merchandising, computer skills, problem-solving, and other skills that are transferable to other jobs and careers. Those skills and some experience can land you a job in a lot of different industries.
Within a large retail company, there are a lot of places to go. You can start out as a cashier and work your way up without ever leaving the company. Large retailers have accounting departments, human resources, logistics, shipping and operations. Companies who invest in their employees and promote from within can reduce recruitment costs and turnover.
Retail offers a lot of opportunities. With the changes in the economy and the job market over the last few years, retail may be the best opportunity out there for a person who wants to work hard and have a vibrant career.
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