New jobs are being created in the retail industry, especially in head offices. We are seeing new categories for experienced Buyers and Planners to work within. There is also a major focus on having strong management in e-commerce divisions, with many retailers now pushing their online forum as much as their stores.
Vacancy activity is high in regional areas in non-fashion retail. Metropolitan centres attract a lot of candidate interest but regional locations struggle to attract quality candidates for their roles.
We are seeing more part-time roles, often with six-day rotating rosters or 7am to 12pm working days. Casuals are also sought to cover peak times in the day or to work on weekends.
When they recruit, employers are looking closely at a candidate’s soft skills and are willing to consider people with a different product knowledge base. Their focus is instead on identifying a candidate with the right cultural and behavioural fit.
Skills in demand
In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Sales Assistants. These candidates are sought by telecommunication pop-ups, franchises and kiosk style retailers. These roles are experiencing high turnover and often pay low salaries, which creates ongoing demand for suitable candidates.
Senior Merchandise Planners are also sought. This is a very specialised role and skilled candidates in high volume merchandise planning are in short supply.
Category Managers are also sought. Employers want highly experienced candidates with exposure across numerous categories, such as home wares, electrical, pharmaceutical and general merchandise. Typically such candidates are located overseas; local candidates are stable in their current roles and not looking to move on from big box retailers.
Production Coordinators are needed too. This is a highly specialised role and employers need very specific experience in particular areas. Candidates with exposure to the international market are preferred, as well as experience of overseas buying trips.
Senior Managers are needed in luxury retail. Many new and existing luxury retailers are entering the Australian market, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, which is creating this demand.
In terms of candidate trends, senior retail professionals have adopted a more patient and speculative approach. They are looking for the exact right opportunity and will not leave their current role until they find a job that meets all of their requirements, including an opportunity to grow and career progression. The later is very important as candidates want to see a clear progression path, and are interested in moving up in larger corporations.
They also want to work for a retailer with strong growth potential. With many international retailers setting up in Australia, existing retailers are opening new locations, setting up new divisions and creating new roles.