Do you think of yourself as a ‘people person’, someone who'd enjoy providing information and advice to people looking to buy a product or service? Or, maybe you'd prefer to negotiate with suppliers to get the best deal for your company or employer?
If either option applies then this career area may be a good choice. Whether you are dealing with customers or suppliers you need to have good communication skills, a confident and positive outlook, and the ability to deal with complaints while you are busy.
The buying, selling and related work industry is one of the biggest employers in Scotland. The retail sector alone is Scotland’s largest private sector employer, with 252,000 jobs in 2015, accounting for 13% of the private sector workforce.
As buying and selling affects most types of business, a wide variety of careers are available in the following areas: buying, call centres and retail and sales.
Of the huge range of companies to work for, possible employers include:
Job prospects in this area are still mixed, with some job roles expected to decrease and some to increase. Scottish retail productivity improving in recent years (although slower than the rest of the UK), has also meant the loss of retail jobs in the industry.
Recent projections from the Scottish Retail Consortium show that there will be fewer jobs in retail by 2025, due to store closures and technological changes. That said, across the UK 100,000 jobs have been created in the last 5 years, and Scottish retail workers have seen higher wages. However, on a positive note, there is still a shortage of retail managers, with the prediction that the sector needs up to an additional 60,000 more managers by 2022.
The UK contact centre industry is expected to cut over 32,000 jobs and close 300 contact centres over the next 4 years. This has been accredited to automated digital channels, increasing use of self-service and the expected effect of the UK leaving the European Union.
There are lots of ways into these jobs. You can start straight from school with few or no qualifications, where you can work your way up to a senior position, such as retail manager. Many employers provide the opportunity to work towards vocational qualifications on the job to help with promotion.
You can find out more about retail in Scotland on the Scottish Retail Consortium website.