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July – September 2016


We have seen an increase in temporary and contract recruitment in the retail head office space in response to internal restructures. With new financial year budgets now available permanent vacancy activity is expected to increase.

The investment in digital technology continues within retail, not only for the purposes of e-commerce, but also to enhance the in-store experience. As a result head office staff with an understanding of digital development and marketing will be in higher demand.

The retail market in general is very candidate short. Given this, many employers are considering candidates at a slightly lower level than the role requires and are giving them the opportunity to be trained into the role. The main requirement is that the candidate is the right fit.

With new international retailers entering the Australian market, employers are focused on retaining their top talent. As a result counter offers have increased as have salaries, particularly at the senior level, as competition for the top retail talent heats up.

Hotspots of demand

Merchandise Planners are in demand as Australian retailers continue to develop their planning functions and create new roles.

As a result Merchandise Allocators will also be in higher demand in the months ahead. There is already a shortage of candidates training to become Allocators and high volume retailers are struggling to find competent candidates. In response they are training graduates with high potential to fill this gap.

Grocery Buyers are also sought. Candidates with fresh food or grocery experience are in high demand as more retailers expand their fresh food range. However there is a limited pool of candidates in the Australian market with such experience.

For temporary roles, candidates on a working holiday visa with experience in Buying or Planning remain in high demand.

Sales Consultants are needed for both part-time and full-time roles. The loyalty of candidates is low as there are many retail opportunities on offer. Candidates with Mandarin language skills are also required as many high-end retailers rely on overseas visitors to boost their sales.

Assistant Store Managers are needed too. Candidates at this level want to advance their career and will often move from one company to another at a quicker pace as they seek the perfect role that matches their requirements.

Store Managers are also sought. Due to high demand for other staff members, this has naturally led to Store Managers being sought out consistently too. With the high demand, Store Managers are also utilising this shortage to try and leverage their chance of a salary increase.

Candidate trends

In general the retail market is very candidate short, which enables the best candidates to negotiate higher salaries and be selective when choosing where to work.

Candidates are typically entering the job market in search of career progression. Buyers are also motivated by a role offering more autonomy, especially more creative autonomy.

Candidates are interviewing for multiple roles and comparing their offers in order to ensure they receive the highest offer for their skill-set. They are openly asking for higher salaries, and will also consider an organisation’s culture and growth potential.

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