Retail Graduate Schemes
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.