Retail Graduate Schemes

Author: Category: Category: Graduate Schemes Date: 28th October, 2013

An Introduction to a Graduate Career in Retail Management

Retail is one of the most popular choices for graduates today.  The retail industry employs more than 3 million people in the UK (11% of the workforce) and offers excellent salaries, training plans and industry experience.

Most graduate recruiters in retail such as ASDA, Waitrose and Tesco will offer 1-2 year retail management development schemes for graduates.  You’ll also be able to choose your own career path such as merchandising, marketing, logistics or becoming a buyer.

Many retail graduate schemes train recruits to become managers.  Your day-to-day roles will involve travelling to different stores, getting a good feel for the company and analysing data/marketing trends.  You’ll also receive a lot of personal coaching and training in classrooms during your first year.

Breakdown of positions in retail:

retail schemes

  • Merchandising: Supply chain management, analyzing market trends, negotiating prices with suppliers and maintaining stock levels.
  • Marketing: Planning and preparing the overall marketing strategy including digital and offline marketing.
  • Buyer: Sources new suppliers, negotiates prices, analyses/forecasts market trends and chooses the right product lines.
  • HR: Support the management and organizational structure of the business.  Roles include recruitment, training, employment law, organizational structure, employee benefits, and work related issues. Learn more about HR roles here.

Skills Required:

  • A Minimum of a 2.1
  • Strong commercial awareness
  • Proven leadership and team working ability
  • Communication skills
  • Good organizational skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Work experience is a big advantage

Average Graduate Salaries in Retail

Starting salaries for graduates varies from £23,000 up to £40,000 for the best graduate schemes.  For example, Aldi’s graduate training program offers £40,000  (rising to £65,000) in addition to your own company car.

The average starting salary on graduate schemes in the industry according to HighFlighers.co.uk research is £24,000.

As you progress up the ranks to senior management roles after 2-3 years, salaries can vary between different sectors (e.g. merchandising, buying, management, HR, finance).

  • A Store Manager can earn between £48,000 and £70,000
  • A Senior Merchandiser can earn £50,000 (rising to £110,000 as Merchandising Director)
  • A senior buyer can earn £60,000 (rising to £100,000 for Buying Director).

You can find more information about the different positions and in retail on InsideCareers.co.uk here.

Entry Requirements:

Most retail recruiters require a minimum of a 2.1 from a good University.  Retail employers accept candidate from a wide range of degrees however they typically recruit graduate with a BSc or BA.

The application process will require graduates to pass a phone interview, assessment center (including an aptitude test and team work exercise) in addition to a final interview.

Experience is very important in this sector and those with an internship or work placement in the industry will have a sizeable advantage.

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