SUCCESS IN SALES
Retail staff on the career path –
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.