Training and career development in retail

Professional development and qualifications for graduates working in the retail sector.

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Depending on your degree subject, you may enter the graduate workforce at either operational level or a position higher up the hierarchical chain. Graduate training programmes and fast-track management training programmes are a good way for ambitious graduates to progress rapidly.

Traditionally, the retail sector has been seen as one that featured long hours and low pay, but salaries, conditions and opportunities for advancement have improved considerably and retail can now provide you with a career to rival others. One of the most important factors to consider is whether a company will help you to progress and reach your true potential.

Work-based education has been endorsed in several important reports in recent years and retailers across Ireland are leading the way in work-based training, continuing professional development (CPD) and improved access to e-learning in the workplace. In the Republic, IBEC’s Retail Skillnet group has developed training to build staff expertise in key areas. Similarly, in the North, Skillsmart Retail has established initiatives to promote upskilling within the industry.

Postgraduate degree programmes in retail studies on the island of Ireland are run by the Technological University of Dublin (TUD). A number of third-level institutions also operate CPD programmes in association with retail companies.

If you already have a retail degree you may wish to pursue a specialist postgraduate programme in an area such as supply chain management, marketing, or IT. Check the postgraduate course database here .

Retail has expanded considerably in recent years in terms of career opportunities, particularly in terms of graduate management programmes, which are now offered by many major retailers. In terms of graduate salaries, the average graduate salary for those working in retail now stands at €32,600.

In our most recent graduate research for this sector, 63% of those who wanted to work in this sector were female, with the most common influence on choosing retail being a real passion for the sector, which was chosen as the most important factor by 58% of those surveyed. By its very nature, graduate jobs in retail are primarily site-based and require a considerable amount of personal interaction, with staff, suppliers and other elements of the retail ecosystem. That said, 50% of students surveyed said that they would like some element of remote or at home working to be a possibility. In terms of preparing for a graduate career in retail, during this most challenging of times, 20% of students we spoke to completed a virtual internship in this sector.

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