Retail careers often get a bad rap because they are known as “bottom of the barrel” jobs for young college kids and people without degrees. In reality, the retail industry provides much-needed jobs for anyone who is looking for employment and there is no shortage of degreed professionals in retail. In some cases, retail can also be upwardly mobile as many large chains promote in-store workers to their corporate offices. If you’ve been put off by the idea of retail before, check out the following myths and facts of the retail industry.
Myth: Retail is a transitional career in which no one stays beyond one or two years.
Fact: Many career-oriented professionals get started in retail either during high school or during college and never leave it. In fact, career retail professionals can often make more money than those in clerical or administrative jobs, especially if they continue to climb the corporate ladder. The retail industry needs not only cashiers and clerks, but also buyers, managers, assistant managers, general managers and corporate employees to make the business flow more smoothly. If you have high aspirations in the retail industry, you can go far much more quickly than in other career paths.
Myth: College degrees do not apply to those in retail
Fact: According to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 65% of retail managers are encouraged by their corporate superiors to hire more professionals with college degrees. In fact, many universities nationwide (more than 200) offer degree paths in retail management, retail merchandising, retail sales, retail marketing and others. If you have a college degree, your opportunities for advancement in the retail industry increase dramatically.
Myth: You can’t make more than minimum wage in a retail job.
Fact: Less than 30% of all retail jobs nationwide start their employees at minimum wage, and the nationwide average in 2004 was $10.89 for retail industry employees. Some retail careers require that employees work on commission, which increases their potential earnings. Either way, the retail industry isn’t even close to the lowest-paying career path, and if you choose a large company with wide distribution, you can expect to make much more.
Myth: Retail industry managers don’t make much money.
Fact: Once you’ve reached a managerial job in the retail industry, your chances for high income increase. In fact, the national average for retail managers in 2004 was $86,000, and can sometimes reach six figures in the right store. Managers have access not only to a salary, but also to bonuses and profit sharing options.
Myth: The retail industry is going to shrink in upcoming years.
Fact: While it is true that the Internet has opened up new options for consumers, the retail industry is still going strong. In 2005, the retail industry employed more than 24 million Americans, and is expected to increase by five or six million before the end of 2007. Furthermore, retailers bring in a total of more than $4 trillion in annual sales, which means that it is hardly a poor industry.
Many people forgo careers in the retail industry because they fear the stigma, but if you have a passion for retail and have the skills necessary to excel, you can be laughing all the way to the bank in just a few years of hard work and dedication.