Too often jobs in retail are considered to be something university students do while they’re studying to enter another workforce entirely. But the Australian retail industry is a dynamic, ever evolving space with vast opportunity for career progression and fulfillment.
The retail industry is changing rapidly as it adapts to serve a new kind of consumer who, empowered by the technology they have access too, has never had so much freedom of choice. Global online retailer Amazon, which has just arrived in Australia, has become hugely powerful, appealing to consumers who value convenience and web-based shopping experiences. David White, the national leader of Deloitte’s Retail, Wholesale and Distribution group, says Australian retailers are rising to meet these challenges:
“...we are also seeing Australian retailers slowly fighting back, with investments in store design, concept and flagship stores on the rise. So these new entrants will find Australian retailers better prepared and skilled to take on this new challenge compared to five years ago.”
The Australian retail sector needs hands-on, creative individuals to help it adapt to global trends. In the Deloitte Global Powers of Retailing 2017 report, five major trends are identified.
- Minimalism - many consumers are trying to ‘de-clutter’ their lives, investing in fewer, more carefully chosen pieces rather than buying more for less.
- “Following” economy - social media has become a tool for individuals to brand themselves. Part of this branding involves sharing content about products and experiences that an individual has purchased because it aligns with their online image.
- “Retail-isation” of the world - retail is no longer just an in-store shopping experience, and many retailers are developing inventive ways to sell products to consumers. Subscription services are one very popular trend, you can now buy subscriptions for coffee beans, books to read, groceries and ready-to-eat meals, pet accessories and more.
- On-demand shopping - shoppers have an ‘on-demand’ mindset: when they buy a product they expect it to turn up almost as quickly as their takeaway food delivery. Retailers must consider how they will keep up with these demands.
- Exponential living - retail can now occur in virtual reality and with the help of artificial intelligence and robotics. Perhaps some of the most exciting innovations, these technologies will disrupt the retail landscape.
These trends and innovations have implications for employees as well. The best kinds of employers are those who support their employees comprehensively, with attention to the quality of their professional and private life. Below is a list of retailers in Australia who lead the way, providing services such as opportunities for further education, flexible working hours and conditions, health and wellness support, a commitment to diversity and the safety of their employees. This way they can promote employee retention and career progression.
Mecca Brands came second in the Great Place to Work Report, in the over 1,000 employees category. Mecca Cosmetica and Mecca Maxima are a powerhouse in the Australian hair and beauty retail industry. They are committed to caring for their employees, offering plenty of on-the-job training, from webinars to conferences.
Photo courtesy: Popsugar.com.au
Mecca cares about personal goals just as much as your professional aspirations. Director of Human Resources, Helena Karlinder-Östlundh, is quoted by Inside Retail as saying, ““The lines between work and life outside work are so blurry now, so Mecca very much takes the approach that we employ a whole person and it’s our responsibility to engage, support and develop that person not just for work but for life more broadly,” There is an emphasis on maintaining an excellent workplace culture, and providing opportunities to ascend the ranks.
This online fashion retailer was voted the 4th best place to work in Australia for the over 100 employees category in the BRW Great Places to Work Awards 2017.
Photo courtesy: imagesthatsell.com.au
Birdsnest is based in Cooma, Australia. Founder Jane Cay wanted to make it easy for Australian women to shop online for garments suited to their body shape, that make them feel fantastic. Birdsnest has raised $70,000 for education and social change programmes. emphasis on assisting employees to feel they are really part of something. Recent awards include founder Jane Cay being announced #1 in the Top 50 People in E-commerce by Internet Retailing 2018, and winning the Hot Innovator Award at the Power Retail's All Star Bash 2018.
Woolworths Australia is proudly in the Top 25 of Top 250 Global Retailers list, sitting at number 23. The company believes that celebrating diversity in all its forms is part of creating a vibrant and inclusive place to work; they are committed to creating a workplace culture where everyone can be themselves at work. They offer support and respect for LGBTI, Indigenous and female staff members. On the Woolworths group website they share the following statistics about gender equality within their workforce:
- 6% Woolworths’ workforce are women, and they are working to increase the number of women in leadership roles
- 39% of managers are women, continuing on a long-term commitment to improving gender equality
- 48% of the Woolworths’ workforce work part-time and 32% work casually
Photo courtesy: bandt.com.au
Bunnings is a retail giant. Owned by Wesfarmers and sitting at an incredible number 21 on Deloitte’s Top 250 Global Retailers list, it is number 1 of all Australian retailers on the list. The home and garden superstore is committed to providing their staff with culture, opportunity and community. In an open letter Managing Director Mark Schneider says, “We are very serious about ensuring we have a safe working environment for every team member through our BSAFE program. And, as an equal opportunity employer, we want those who join us to put down roots and grow with us. We are committed to developing our team and support this by encouraging team members to undertake a arrange of internal courses as well as part-time studies, where possible, to further their careers.”
Photo courtesy: thenewdaily.com.au
Upskilled is here to assist you in pursuing a fulfilling career in the retail sector. We offer a variety of online courses, designed to supply you with the skills you need to start a career in retail. Browse our offering here, and if you’d like to learn more about a career in the the retail sector, we’ve prepared a handy quick career guide which you can check out here.