As a specialist in recruitment with more than 30 years of experience, Amanda Coulson understands why it’s important to think outside of the box when deciding upon your next job move.
It’s been a long hard road of late for our High Streets. Even before the bombshells of Covid and Brexit, the surge in online retail was putting the bricks and mortar stores that had been the heartbeat of our town and city centres under increasing pressure.
There is no escaping the fact that our commercial centres will never be the same. While many of us have adapted to the changes in the way we shop, there is an impact on employment that won’t ever be balanced out. While retail remains one of the dominant forces in the jobs market it is not the powerhouse it once was and with Wilko the latest big name to see significant numbers of jobs put at risk, it’s an unsettling time for all those who have retail as a career path.
Wilko, the popular homewares chain, went into administration in August following nearly a century as a cornerstone of our high streets, with its 400 shops providing work for in the region of 12,500 employees.
For those people who do ultimately face redundancy, one of the often unforeseen consequences is a knock in self-esteem and job confidence. Particularly for those with a long history of working in retail, the prospect of returning to the sector when it’s fighting for survival can seem just too daunting. So where do they turn?
What is all too easily forgotten is that many of the skills from retail are very transferable to other industries. In fact, there are core elements that are at the heart of retail which translate to various different vocations very naturally.
Customer service is one such example. Experience in delivering high levels of customer service within the retail sector can be an excellent grounding for customer service roles in other sectors too. Similarly, management experience and the skills to get the best out of a team that is working on the shop floor can be applied to a wide variety of other team management positions.
Retail buyers can often find themselves feeling very comfortable in procurement job roles, which are a requirement in many different business environments, while essential administration tasks, similar to those that are a core part of the operations within retail, also apply in almost any business setting.
Having placed many hundreds of candidates successfully in new jobs, I always acknowledge that the most important feature of an individual’s application is not their list of skills, but their attitude. Skills are transferable and training can improve skills. What is far more critical is that you look to employ the right person with the right attitude. If an employee has a strong work ethic, you can teach the rest.
As a jobseeker, even if you are challenged to enter a business sector that feels rather far-removed from your previous experience, I would encourage you to take the opportunity to learn something new. Over the number of years we are all likely to spend in the workplace, having more strings to your bow will not only make you more employable, but will also make your career a much more varied and interesting one.
And with a good employer willing to invest in the right levels of training, gaining new knowledge specific to a different job can be a quick and effective process that benefits both employer and employee long into the future.