Retail and wholesale distribution

Retail is a significant and growing industry employing over 3 million people in the UK, within thousands of shops and stores selling everything from clothes and white goods to food and drink. It is a major contributor to the UK economy and offers a diverse range of job opportunities.

The sector struggles to recruit highly skills workers, and tends to recruit on attitude before skill. The skills most valued by employers in this sector are: first aid and health and safety: basic maths and English, food hygiene. Skills and Employment By 2035, a quarter of jobs in the sector will be at Level 4+ and a quarter at Level 3, indicating an increasing need for higher level skills. The sector will also continue to support jobs at all qualification levels

The use of new technologies is leading to greater skills requirements, particularly in ICT. New technology is pervasive across wholesale and as a result, the wider sector will see a significant increase in staff requiring IT-related qualifications and skills

Example jobs available in this sector

Job Description

manage the stock and product flow from a company’s distribution centre to retail outlets across a specific region. The role requires leadership of multiple teams and other organisations, high level planning and organisational skills and a clear understanding of time management to ensure efficient stock and product supply.


Salary Range

£35,000 upwards

Working environment

Mix of office and warehouse based, with some travel.

Hours

Varied, could be shift work, minimum 35 hours per week

Opportunities

Potential to progress into large organisations with complex supply chains at senior leadership level.

Job Description

Franchise owners are self-employed people who've bought a licence to operate a business under an established company's brand. For example, many well-known fast food outlets are operated by franchise owners who employ their own staff but use all of the branding, logos and products of the company.


Salary Range

Variable

Working environment

You could work in an office, from home or at a store/restaurant.

Hours

40 to 42 variable freelance / self-employed, managing your own hours.

Opportunities

Once your business becomes established you may want to open more franchised outlets. This would allow you to hand over day-to-day operations to staff, so you are able to start to build up your own chain.

Job Description

Sales assistants work in customer facing roles selling products and helping customers. Roles can be in wide a variety of organisations, from large high street chains such as Next or Tesco to small independent shops. Typically, sales assistants will sort and replenish stock, handle payments, deal with customer queries and meet sales targets. Some roles require specialist technical or product specific knowledge.


Salary Range

£12,500 - £25,000

Working environment

Depending on the organisation you may need to wear a uniform. Retail work can often be demanding due to the busy nature of the roles and stores, this can vary depending on the time of year

Hours

Varied due to type of role, lots of part time and full time hours available. Evenings and weekend work.

Opportunities

Experienced sales assistants can progress to store management and then retail management roles. You might also consider setting up your own independent shop.

Job Description

Marketing executives promote a company's products, services or brand. They do this through researching customer thoughts and feelings and market trends to inform campaigns. They write content for print, such as adverts and magazines, they organise and promote events and marketing campaigns online and via social media.


Salary Range

£18,000 - £35,000

Working environment

Usually office based.

Hours

Minimum 37 hours with evening and weekend work

Opportunities

Marketing executives could progress into management and also cross into online and digital marketing. Other opportunities may include, freelancing, advertising, or public relations and communications.

Job Description

Visual merchandisers are responsible for creating enticing product displays and layouts in order to maximise sales. If you’ve ever visited a department store in a different part of the country and noticed that it is the same as another? That is the work of a visual merchandiser in a large chain. They arrange displays, dress mannequins and teach sales staff how to display products to ensure consistency across the brand


Salary Range

£12,000 - £55,000

Working environment

Visual merchandisers usually work in retail stores.

Hours

36 to 38 a week, including evening and weekend work.

Opportunities

With experience, you could progress to team leader, then visual merchandising manager. You could also move into retail, exhibition or interior design, or set up your own business creating one-off displays.

What to expect from this sector in the next 10 years

The sector struggles to recruit highly skills workers, and tends to recruit on attitude before skill. The skills most valued by employers in this sector are: first aid and health and safety: basic maths and English, food hygiene. Skills and Employment By 2035, a quarter of jobs in the sector will be at Level 4+ and a quarter at Level 3, indicating an increasing need for higher level skills. The sector will also continue to support jobs at all qualification levels

The use of new technologies is leading to greater skills requirements, particularly in ICT. New technology is pervasive across wholesale and as a result, the wider sector will see a significant increase in staff requiring IT-related qualifications and skills

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