Aislinn Lea, Head of Fashion & Non-Food, Excel Recruitment

Retail University

Excel’s Fashion and Non-Food Director Aislinn Lea on why a retail career is the one for anyone looking to learn and the world of opportunities retail jobs offer

The term university I believe comes from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium which roughly means “an association of teachers and scholars” which to me, is exactly what the retailing world is. A retail career is a world of opportunity. It is an ever changing world of diversity, excitement, pace, people, leadership and growth. I struggle to think of another industry or career path that can offer you the diversity of skills and experiences that retail can. Depending on your skills and interests, retail offers you the opportunity to:

  • Be a decision maker: insight of managing and leading a business like it is your own
  • Be a teacher: instrumental in training, motivating and encouragement
  • Be a financial wizard: managing controllable costs, analysing your trading reports improve sales growth and create a profitable store / business
  • Be a magician and juggler- learn the art of multi-tasking and managing the needs of the business, of your customers and your team without breaking a sweat
  • Be creative – to allow for change by understanding your people, your customer, company culture
  • Be everything to everyone – a leader, a manager, a friend, a personal shopper, a coach, an inspiration and ultimately to be part of the art in delivering the ultimate shopping experience

I recently received an email from a candidate that I placed in a new management role letting me know how he was finding his new job. In it, he described his new company as a “University of Retail” which struck me firstly, as a fantastic compliment for our client. Secondly, it highlighted just how unique retail is as an industry for precisely this reason: in retail, every day’s a school day.

Retail management is one of the most progressive careers in the market, an industry where the opportunities and careers available are as ever-changing as the products we sell and customers we serve. To a hardworking and passionate individual pursuing a retail career the doors that open are endless and a result, exciting, challenging and rewarding. From Management, Head Office or Buying to HR, Marketing, E-Tailing and Visual Merchandising there are exciting career opportunities and career paths across Grocery, Fashion and Non-Food retailing along with countless chances to learn, meet new people, try new things, and see new places. On top of this, it’s an extremely fast-paced industry, constantly innovating and evolving, which provides anybody who wants to embrace new ideas and technologies the opportunity to really make their mark.

Retail is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry employing over 280,000 people and accounting for a large contribution to the Irish economy. Its also one of the fastest evolving industries there is. As retail continues to grow, we need to continue to attract new talent and new leaders into the world of retail. Equally we need to hold on to our current talent, our scholars in retail who can mentor, train and develop the new recruits, the new team, the new leaders.