What skills are Retail employers looking for?

What skills are Retail employers looking for?


Retail is a popular industry, so it's imperative to find out what the in demand skills are, acquire these skills and give yourself a competitive advantage over your fellow applicants.

Some roles will require a very specific set of skills. For instance, Visual Merchandisers will need to have a creative flair with an eye for three-dimensional design and the ability to translate design concepts into tangible displays that will woo potential customers.

Buyers and Merchandisers need to be analytical, numerate and commercially astute. Whilst Store Managers need to be good all-rounders – sales people, team leaders, target driven, with the ability to juggle a number of different tasks simultaneously.

Luckily, most of the skills that are required for each position will be learnt on the job but you may have already acquired some of them during your career or work placements.

Regardless of whether you enter your career via the graduate or non-graduate route, the retail industry recognises a set of four key competencies that anyone serious about carving out a career for themselves in this sector will need.

- Business Focus
- Personal Effectiveness
- Relationship Management
- Critical Thinking

These competencies include a range of typical skills that employers are looking for in applicants, such as:

- excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- good standard of IT and numeracy
- effective influencing and negotiation skills
- strong customer focus
- ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines
- analysing and problem-solving skills
- commercial awareness
- flexibility
- strong time-management skills
- attention to detail
- demonstrable leadership and management qualities

Above all else, employers are looking for people who can use their initiative to look for ways of improving the way things are done, are committed to their employer and are passionate about their sector whether it be fashion, food or cars.

Wondering what to do now? Check out our expert Retail career advice, find out more about the Retail industry or search for the latest Retail jobs.

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