Industry Overview

If you are patient and calm during stressful situations, can offer personable interactions and can effectively communicate in range of different environments, a career in retail might be for you.

It’s a sector that provides a livelihood to around 3 million people and is attractive for its fast-paced environment and offering a more flexible work schedule for those not looking for the typical 9-5. It’s a global industry with countless upskilling opportunities and ways to work up the retail ladder into positions like supervisor, manager, and departmental manager.

Labour Market Information

Obviously, the pandemic had a massive impact on the retail sector. With supermarkets thriving due to them being deemed ‘essential’ during the lockdowns, those selling non-essential items suffered tremendously – especially those operating from brick-and-mortar stores.

Fortunately, many were quick to adapt to changing customer behaviours and independent retailers in particular embraced the use of technology to aid the customer experience – adopting services such as click and collect, online shopping through community ordering apps, trolley scanners, contactless payments and self-serve checkouts. For the most part, these technological changes will be here to stay and help the retail sector to bounce back quickly.

Looking to the future for the retail sector, while many still fear for the high-street, Stockport’s shopping scene is attracting more and more independent stores to its historic Old Town, Markets and district centres, as well as keeping the big names close in both town centre and out-of-town retail parks. It’s therefore still a great career choice for Stockport residents – whether you’re looking for part-time work to suit your lifestyle, a fast-track to retail management for a national chain or have the entrepreneurial flair to open a store of your own.

Starting Salary

£11.44 per hour or £18,000
per annum

Typical Salary Range

per annum

Working Hours

Part-time and Full-time, including weekends and bank holidays

retail lmi infographic

LMI Infographic from GMACS

GMACS have produced a range of helpful infographics to summarise careers in the Retail sector and the current employment landscape in Greater Manchester.

According to the stats, the most in-demand roles are as a Buyer, eCommerce Specialist, Merchandiser or Delivery Driver and you may find yourself working for one of 21,750 North-West retail employers such as the Hut Group, Tesco, JD Sports or Stockport’s own Pets at Home for example. You’ll be joining 17.6% of GM residents who work in this sector earning an average of £32,300 and you’ll need to demonstrate customer service skills, budget management, sales and merchandising.

You can view the full infographic and click on the links for more information by selecting the button below to view as a PDF.

Working in Retail

  • Buying
  • Customer service
  • Loss prevention and security
  • Merchandising and allocation
  • Online retail
  • Retail management
  • Visual merchandising
  • Warehouse, Distribution, Logistics and supply chain
  • Commercial awareness
  • The ability to come up with innovative ideas
  • Good IT skills
  • Good organisation and time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Strong communication skills
  • Teamworking ability
  • Respectful approach to colleagues
  • Customer sales advisor
  • Shift leader/Section co-ordinator
  • Supervisor
  • Department manager
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Store manager
  • Buyer
  • Merchandiser
  • Shopkeepers and Proprietors
  • Stock Control Clerks and Assistants
  • Market and Street traders and assistants
  • Shelf-fillers
  • E-commerce specialists

If you specialise in recruitment, you could work ‘in-house’ – helping to recruit new colleagues to join the company you work for, or in a recruitment agency where you’ll help other businesses to find the staff they need.  

Similarly, if you specialise in L&D (Learning and Development), you could work as an in-house trainer or join an external training consultancy. You may also consider related roles in career coaching or occupational psychology for example. 

With Retail being one of the most accessible industries to enter, there are usually no qualifications required to work in a retail environment, with most skills focusing on human engagement / interactions. However, employers may ask for Maths and English qualifications depending on the area or work/job role you are applying for.

Other roles may require more advanced qualifications at Level 3 (like AAT, A-Levels, T-Levels, NVQs or Apprenticeships) or even at degree-level, depending on the level of job you want to start out at and the area of Retail you’re interested.

Many firms will offer training contracts and apprenticeships whilst you gain your qualifications. Some prefer you to gain hands-on experience and work your way up through the shop, learning about the store environment and unique ways of working. For larger retail companies on the other hand, graduate schemes and internships are more common.

A career in retail equips you with skills that are valuable in most job sectors. With the role relying heavily on effective communication, this skill will undoubtedly grow during your time in the sector preparing you for future employment.

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