Re­tail staff on the ca­reer path –

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RE­TAIL is of­ten re­garded as be­ing a ca­sual job for high-school stu­dents but it can lead to a wealth of op­por­tu­ni­ties for its work­ers.

While most staff are on shop floors with cus­tomers, there are many who have turned hum­ble be­gin­nings into lu­cra­tive fu­tures.

Aus­tralian Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Rus­sell Zim­mer­man says driven work­ers can forge suc­cess­ful ca­reers in re­tail.

‘‘There are a lot of peo­ple who are very well known in the in­dus­try who started off as hum­ble shop-floor re­tail­ers,’’ he says.

‘‘You might be a depart­ment head in one or­gan­i­sa­tion, then be­come a store man­ager and then move up into an of­fice as a mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive.’’

Mr Zim­mer­man says there is a mis­con­cep­tion that re­tail jobs are es­sen­tially for stu­dents look­ing to make money while they study.

He says there is a wide va­ri­ety of jobs in re­tail, in­clud­ing hu­man re­sources, buy­ing, mer­chan­dis­ing and bank­ing.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple start off in re­tail think­ing it’s just a job,’’ he says. ‘‘For ex­am­ple, they may want to work in bank­ing but they don’t think of re­tail as be­ing in bank­ing.

‘‘They think it’s just a job they do to get money while they go through the later years of high school or uni­ver­sity, but a lot of re­tail stores have peo­ple who are as­so­ci­ated in bank­ing.’’

Mr Zim­mer­man says there is also ‘‘no limit’’ to the salaries peo­ple can earn in re­tail, with many of the in­dus­try’s chief ex­ec­u­tives on im­pres­sive pay pack­ets.

But he says the peo­ple who excel are the ones who en­joy work­ing in the sec­tor and have am­bi­tion.

‘‘Of­ten those peo­ple have a flare about them,’’ he says.

‘‘They prob­a­bly would have ex­celled in other ar­eas too but they saw re­tail as be­ing a great area to work through and they were given a chance.’’

West­field West Lakes cen­tre man­ager Ali­son Pearson, 37, has found suc­cess in re­tail, af­ter gain­ing tem­po­rary work in the in­dus­try dur­ing an over­seas back­pack­ing trip.

Upon re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia, she worked at Myer while look­ing for per­ma­nent work in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions field.

Within five years of start­ing in the in­dus­try, Ms Pearson was in aman­age­ment role at David Jones and won the South Aus­tralian Young Re­tail Ex­ec­u­tive of the Year. ‘‘At that point, I sort of re­alised there were go­ing to be op­por­tu­ni­ties,’’ she says.

‘‘I think it’s about work­ing for or­gan­i­sa­tions that have good suc­ces­sion and ca­reer plan­ning and let­ting peo­ple know that you’re in­ter­ested in pro­gress­ing within an or­gan­i­sa­tion.’’ KOREAN MAR­KET­ING



West­field West Lakes cen­tre man­ager Ali­son Pearson started off in re­tail dur­ing a back­pack­ing hol­i­day.

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