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 retail industry remains the UK’s largest private sector employer, with around 2.9 million employees, with a turnover of over £403 billion a year in sales.

What areas can I work in?

As buying and selling affects most types of business, a wide variety of careers are available. Jobs and courses are split into three sectors: 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.

To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.

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?

The buying, selling and related work industry is one of the biggest employers in Scotland. The retail sector alone remains Scotland’s largest private sector employer, with some 213,000 jobs, and is one of the largest contributors to the economy.

The Scottish estimate of businesses in Wholesale and Retail currently trading with 10+ employees between 24th August and 6th of September 2020 stood at 99%.

There are almost 6,035 call centres in the UK (compared to 6,120 in the previous year) with 812,000 agent positions (compared with 778,000 in the previous year). It is predicted that over the next 4 years the UK contact centre industry will shed over 35,000 jobs, and close 300 call centres. This is attributed to automated digital channels (with 35% of UK contact centres reporting the intention to implement artificial intelligence in the next 12 months), self service and the ongoing 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 training and qualifications in Scotland on the Scottish Retail Consortium website.



British Retail Consortium

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