Buying, Selling and Related Work

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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 round 250,000 jobs.

What areas can I work in?

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. 

This doesn't include careers in warehousing – you'll find those in the career area Transport and Distribution.

What kind of companies can I work for?

Of the huge range of companies to work for, possible employers include: 

What’s the job market like?

Due to a number of economic factors and the uncertainty surrounding the UK leaving the EU, the retail sector has been hit with declining sales and store closures. Official data, as reported by the Scottish Retail Consortium, shows a net decline of 1,700 shops in Scotland and 10,000 fewer retail jobs over the past few years.

Online retail continues to grow, with sales increasing by 15.8% in 2017. It is forecast that there will be double-digit growth through to 2023. Although increased sales online means less visits to high street stores, it may also mean that career prospects for future retail employees could improve, requiring a new technological based skillset and experience.

In 2018, there were almost 6,175 call centres in the UK with 772,500 agent positions. It is predicted that over the next 4 years the UK contact centre industry will shed over 25,000 jobs and close 250 call centres due to automated digital channels, self service and the expected effects of Brexit.

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. There are Modern Apprenticeship frameworks for both retail and procurement.

Facts and figures

Want to find out more?

You can find out more about retail in Scotland on the Scottish Retail Consortium website.


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