Making around £500 million for the British economy and accounting for 10% of the country's workforce, the retail sector is one of the largest in the UK. After surviving the financial crash at the end of the last decade, job prospects are starting to rise and recruiters are ready to supply the best sales assistants, store managers and distributors in the industry.
Retail is responsible for more part time workers than any other area of employment with typical pay being between £6.50-£7.50 an hour depending on experience. Area managers, managing directors and commercial executives can earn more than £42K a year, whilst sales assistants and window dressers will typically find themselves at the other end of the scale earning around £20K.
The retail industry is responsible for around 16% of the West Midlands economy which makes it the largest in the region. Birmingham is the leading centre in the county and one of the strongest centres in the whole of the UK with the Bullring in particular being of retail acclaim. The average retail salary in the West Midland reflects their industry standing, with £32K being comfortably above other areas of the UK. Job prospects are expected to rise over the next few years with £350 million funding from the government aiming to regenerate the whole of the West Midlands to coincide with the proposed opening of HS2 in 2026.
A degree isn't necessary to enter the field with sales and in-store roles mainly involving on the job training. Most big retailers do offer graduate schemes, although these will be to enter the company further up the pyramid so qualifications in finance, economics or HR will be sought after in these cases. Often the most important qualities in retail aren't knowledge based but more personality driven. Good people skills and initiative are a must to thrive on the shop floor while organisational and financial competence are needed higher up the chain.