Retail Careers

Source: UK Retailing

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Bag yourself a career in Retail!

Retail is just about working in a shop right? Wrong! If you’re looking for a career that allows you the chance to meet new people everyday, to work in a thriving and busy environment and have opportunities to progress up the career ladder then Retail is for you. There’s more to retail than you think. You could be:

  • A Sales Assistant dealing with the customers
  • A Manager leading a big team of staff
  • Travelling the country (and even the world) as a Buyer for a company
  • Developing the new technologies used for shopping in store and online
  • Taking charge of the company finance or working in the head office of a large retail store

Nearly 8,000
Retail Managers will be needed in Wales by 2024
(Working Futures, 2014-2024)

Over17,000Sales and Retail Assistants will be needed in Wales by 2024
(Working Futures, 2014-2024)

117,000 people work in ‘Sales and Customer Service’ occupations in Wales
(ONS Nomis, 2016)

people work in Human Resources in the UK retail industry
(UKCES, 2015)

1 in of the total workforce in Wales work in the Retail and Wholesale sector.
(ONS, 2016)

Wales needs more...

Retail Cashiers and Check-out Operators, Telephone Sales People, 
Inspectors of Standards and Regulations, Call and Contact Centre Occupations, 
Sales Supervisors, Sales and Retail Assistants,
Elementary Process Plant Occupations,  Sales Related Occupations, 
Shopkeepers in Retail and Wholesale, Butchers, 
Managers and Directors in Retail and Wholesale, 

Customer Service Managers and Supervisors, Shelf Fillers, 
Customer Service Occupations, 
Bank and Post Office Clerks

Employment Hotspots

These are the total number of all jobs in the Retail and wholesale sector in areas of Wales (Rounded figures).









Rhondda Cynon Taff


















Neath Port Talbot




Vale of Glamorgan






Merthyr Tydfil




Isle of Anglesey


Blaenau Gwent


(EMSI, 2017, correct at time of publication)

Retail and Sales is one of the biggest sectors across North Wales with nearly 1 in 3people working in the sector across the region.
(North Wales Economic Ambition Board, 2016)

A £40 million retail and leisure complex in Merthyr Tydfil is due to be completed by 2018 and is set to create 400 jobs


Iceland Foods have their Head Office in Deeside, Flintshire and employ around 22,000 in their stores across the UK
(Iceland, 2016)


Meet the Employers

These are some of the retail and wholesale employers in Wales:

Retro Styler
Online Retailer, Conwy. 

Tweedmill Shopping Outlet
St Asaph, Denbighshire.

Trade Centre Wales


Iceland Foods Ltd (Head Office)
Deeside, Flintshire.

Laura Ashley Plc
Newtown, Powys.

Rhondda Cynon Taff. 

What can I earn?

Salaries can vary depending on your experience, the employer and where you live. Higher salaries can be awarded for more senior positions. Salaries also vary for self-employed workers.

Employees working full time in retail earn less (£18,500) compared to the industry average in the UK (£27,000) (UKCES, 2015)

BUT there are opportunities to progress and climb the career ladder within retail and earn more money. For example the Aldi Area Manager Programme salary can rise to over £70,000 (Aldi, 2017)

Job Salary range dependent on experience (£)

£8,000 - £26,000

£10,000 - £24,000

£10,000 - £16,500

£11,000 - £17,500

£11,500 - £16,000

£12,000 - £19,000

£13,000 - £22,500

£13,000 - £19,000

£13,500 - £21,000

£15,000 - £34,000

£15,000 - £34,000

£16,000 - £40,000

£17,000 - £45,000

£17,500 - £33,000

£18,000 - £32,000

£18,500 - £45,500

£20,000 - £45,000

Getting In

You don’t have to have a specific qualification to work in retail but having the right skills and experience are very important. Some people find work in retail by applying online, seeing a job advertised in the shop window or speaking to the manager.

Retail Assistants, with the right experience and skills, can progress to a Store Manager role in a few years.

Colleges and Training Providers offer Retail Apprenticeships for school leavers as do a lot of companies including Aldi, Tesco, M&S, John Lewis and many more.

Many companies offer graduate apprenticeships including Arcadia Group (Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Top Shop, Wallis, Miss Selfridge),Argos, Asda, Aldi, Abercrombie & Fitch, Next, B&Q and many more.

Search for Apprenticeships Find a course

Tip! Employers advertise for retail staff in different ways: shop window advert, local newspaper, job centre website, company website or on social media. So keep an eye out! ’

4% of the UK retail workforce are small and medium businesses
(UKCES, 2015)


Have you thought of starting your own business?

Some people see a gap in the market and open a business and others make money from a hobby they have.

There is support for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business. For more information take a look at:

Try our Career Search Find a HE course

Get networking!

Networking and word of mouth are particularly important in the retail and wholesale sector. Get to know other people and businesses, face-to-face, and through social media.
Build your network of contacts to sell yourself and your ideas.

Network! Network! Network!

Get experience!

Get as much work experience as you can.  Lack of general work experience is one of the top 3 reasons employers give for not employing someone.
Many get experience in Retail by starting out working in a store on weekends or during busy seasonal times like Christmas and Summer holidays.


Skills in demand

The total UK retail workforce is predicted to increase by 1.5 million people by 2024 this means that the sector will need to attract staff to fill new jobs and replace workers leaving. (People 1st, Retail: Skills and Workforce Profile, 2016)

Skills needed:

  • Customer service
  • People skills
  • Communication
  • Managing people
  • Technical
  • E-commerce
  • Planning
  • Organisational


Did you know?

Between March 2016 and March 2017 the top skills asked for in job adverts for Sales and Customer Service occupations were:

  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Marketing Sales
  • Direct Marketing
  • Customer contact

(Labour Insights, 2016)

Retail employers look for people who have qualities like the right attitude, motivation, reliability, flexibility and willingness to work unsociable hours and weekends.

New in the sector

UK shoppers spent £1bn a week online in March 2017, that’s an 19.5% more than in 2016. So, online retail is important! (ONS Retail Sales Report, 2017)

Just think about how technology is used in retail:

  • Online websites and Social Media
  • Order online and collect instore
  • Self service checkouts
  • Tracking customer shopping habits
  • Robots to assist customers in finding stock
  • Virtual showrooms
  • Self scanning
  • Contactless payments
  • Ordering online using a phone App
  • Logistics (delivery)

New technology

New technology means retailers need people with the right skills and qualifications. There are jobs which are hidden from the shop floor but play a key role in retail and wholesale. Jobs in:

  • ICT
  • Website Management
  • Marketing
  • Analytics and big data (using customer data to maximise buying potential)
  • Cyber security
  • App development

Almost 60% of retailers offer some form of training with around ½ of employers concentrating on the use of new technology in retail. (UKCES, 2015)

Some of the ICT related vacancies Tesco have been advertising in the past are:
Digital Designer, Head of Data Acquisition, UI Designer – Clubcard, Prototype Developer, Online Trading Manager and many more roles.

Do I need Welsh Language skills?

If you work in Wales, being able to speak and write in both Welsh and English can give you an advantage in the workplace. Dealing with a customer’s question or complaint in their own language is always going to be beneficial.

In the retail sector

of employers rate having Welsh language skills as 'important' or 'fairly important'
(Welsh Government, 2014)


What about the future?

Fastest growing retail and wholesale jobs in Wales, shown in percentage of growth.

 Call and Contact Centre Occupations

 Customer Service Managers and Supervisors

 Customer Service Occupations

 Managers and Directors in Retail and Wholesale

 Debt, Rent and other Cash Collectors

 Inspectors of Standards and Regulations

 Shelf Fillers

 Shopkeepers and Proprietors Retail and Wholesale

 Telephone Sales People

 Bank and Post Office Clerks

(Working Futures 2014-2024)

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