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Why getting a qualification in retail could enhance your career

By Rosa Ritchie | 17 July 2017

The exciting and varied retail sector in Australia is huge, and there is plenty of room for you to get involved in this thriving industry. Whether you’ve worked in retail before or not, you already have many of the transferable life skills needed to make a start. In this sector you’ll find a diverse range of work, that is constantly growing and changing to adapt to the modern market and new technologies. Choosing to study a qualification in retail may be the next move in a career that allows you to decide the direction.

Let’s talk numbers in Retail...

  • According to the latest research on retail jobs conducted by the Department of Employment, the retail industry is booming, with more than 1.2 million Australians employed in the sector. It is the second largest employing industry in the country.
  • Statistics show it offers great flexibility, 50% of retail workers are employed on a part-time basis which is more than the national average of 32% across all industries.
  • There are jobs in retail almost anywhere across the country, with 420,000 workers employed in rural areas.
  • The opportunities it provides are for people of any age: 32% of retail workers are under 24 which suggests there are many opportunities for entry into the market, and 30% are 45 years or older, which indicates there is plenty of room for career progression.

Pursue your passion

What’s exciting about working in retail is it allows you to pick a passion and follow it. Whether you love gardening, make-up, motorcycles, cars,  sports, fashion or design, there are jobs in the retail industry perfectly suited to you. Working in retail enables you to help and connect with people every day. If you love meeting people and getting out and about you may become a sales representative. If you are creative or love decorating, you’d be a natural in visual merchandising. Retail allows you room for creativity, teaches you new skills  and technologies, and there is a lot of room for upward mobility in the sector.

Do you need a qualification to get a job in retail?

Maybe not, about 52% of workers in the industry don’t have post-school qualifications. However, the retail industry has a huge varieties of jobs. Basic entry level jobs include sales clerks, shelf fillers and cashiers. What gaining a qualification affords you is the potential for exciting career growth, as well as higher earning potential. Only 25% of retail workers have a Certificate III or higher, and 6% have another qualification like a diploma. Given approximately one in three retail workers have gained a qualification, undertaking further study will immediately set you apart from the crowd.

What a qualification will teach you

No one needs a qualification to label stock or process transactions, but the task of managing a store, for example, is a different matter entirely. A store manager is required to juggle staff, rostering, stocktake and inventory, boosting sales, customer engagement as well as ensure the safety and comfort of all customers and employees. This is not an easy endeavour! To be considered for this complex role, upper management need to be sure they choose a candidate who has sound knowledge all of these areas, as well as the ability to give them the appropriate amount of time and attention. If you don’t know the running of the shop like the back of your hand it is impossible to multitask the wide variety of tasks expected of you. However, a qualification in retail gives you an arsenal of knowledge transferable to every workplace in the industry, and the confidence to take on something new.

How the industry is changing

The retail industry is always adapting to new technologies and social change. In the Australian Government’s report, the Economic Structure and Performance of the Retail Industry, e-commerce is identified as the next shift in the way Australians buy and sell goods. However, this change isn’t a bad thing! According to the report, existing physical stores are “incorporating online retailing and becoming ‘multi-channel retailers’”. This means more jobs, and different kinds of work.

What kind of retail jobs are available?

Whether you’re looking for full or part-time work, you may be interested in undertaking more responsibility, or becoming an integral member of a team. Retail involves hard work on the floor, but what about behind the scenes? It takes the help of many hands to get a store running and keep the shelves stocked - you might become a visual merchandiser, a buyer or a regional manager.

Enhance your career with a Retail qualification 

If you’ve been wondering what’s next in your professional life, it’s time to take the matter into your own hands. Be a part of the largest employing industry in Australia with a Qualification in Retail. Whether you’re working or raising a family (or both) online study allows you the flexibility necessary to juggle your responsibilities and your education. Learning at your own pace, a qualification in retail will give you the confidence and ability to start an exciting new chapter of your life. Check out the Diploma of Retail Leadership (SIR50116) and the Certificate IV In Retail Management (SIR40316) available online. 

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