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Four Careers In Retail

careers in retailOnce you understand how the things that you buy make it from the supplier to you it’ll bring a whole new meaning to the phrase chain store.

If you were to follow the journey of one of the items in your shopping trolley you would find that it takes a lot of different people working in different roles to get that product from the original supplier to your shopping trolley. We take a look at four careers in retail.

In the office & out and about – The Buyer

Buyers for retail outlets analyse customer buying patterns, review the success of existing product sales, meet with suppliers, attend trade fairs, negotiate contracts and select products that will be sold in stores.

Education and routes into a career as a retail buyer

retail buyersCompetition for retail buyer jobs can be fierce and a degree in retail or business will be helpful. There are quite a few very good graduate programmes within the retail sector and to get on to one of these you usually need to have a good degree, although it is possible to start your career as a retail buyer after studying for an HND (higher national diploma) or a foundation degree if you also have some experience in the sector.

Typical starting salary: £19,000 – £25,000

Top-end salary: £50,000 – £70,000

In the warehouse – The Warehouse Manager

The warehouse manager works with clients, suppliers and transport companies to make sure that goods are received into the warehouse, stored correctly and dispatched to the right stores on time.

Education and routes into a career as a warehouse manager

There are no set requirements for the role of warehouse manager and it is possible to move into this position from a more junior warehouse operative position once you’ve gained experience and proved yourself capable.

If you did want to join a company on a management training scheme then it might help if you have a qualification such as a HND, foundation degree or degree in something like logistics or supply chain management.

Typical starting salary: £18,000 – £22,000

Top-end salary: £40,000+

On the road – The LGV / HGV Driver

Large or heavy goods vehicle drivers drive the commercial vehicles (over 7.5 tonnes) that transport goods between suppliers, distribution centres, warehouses and stores ready to be sold to customers. Sometimes they plan delivery schedules and help unload goods and they complete delivery paperwork.

Education and routes into a career as a LGV driver

To work as a large goods vehicle driver, you need to be over 18 and you must hold a full car driving licence. You will also need a Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) and to complete an LGV course.

Typical starting salary: £18,500 – £22,000

Top-end salary: £27,000 – £35,000

In the store – The Department Manager

In large stores management responsibilities are often divided between departments. Department managers recruit and manage staff, ensure that targets are hit by driving sales, and take care of customer service.

Education and routes into a career as a department manager

Retail management is a role that you can progress into from a more junior position and some large retail organisations have their own leadership training programmes that you can take part in.

Entering retail at management level can be done through an apprenticeship or with a degree, although if you have built up significant experience it may still be possible. The most helpful degrees for a career in retail management are accounting and finance, retail management, marketing, and business.

Typical starting salary: £20,000 – £30,000

Top-end salary: £35,000 – £60,000


A graduate scheme is a structured programme of training and work for recent graduates. They can last anywhere between three months and three years and normally lead to a permanent position within the company.

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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