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Is retail right for you?

To succeed in the world of retail, you need to have a passion for people. Not only will you be working in a team environment, you’ll be dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis. To this end, you’ll need to have great communication and customer service skills, sound product and sales knowledge, and an understanding of how to engage customers and facilitate sales.

Depending on the type of retail establishment you’re working in, you’ll need to be able to work well under pressure and in a fast-paced environment. You’ll ideally have a calm and composed demeanour in order to solve problems and deal quickly and efficiently with any issues that arise.

If you choose to pursue retail supervisory and management roles, you will need to be confident in taking charge of a team of people and overseeing the daily duties that keep retail stores running.

Job opportunities

Retail is the second largest employment industry in Australia. These numbers are expected to grow over the next few years, with an estimated total of 645,000 job openings likely in retail sales assistant, supervisory and management roles leading up to May 2022.

Here are some more facts and stats about working in retail in Australia:

  • Part-time and weekend work is extremely common in the industry, making it a flexible option for those who wish to study or achieve work-life balance.
  • Full-time earnings before tax are estimated at $850/week for sales assistants, $943/week for retail supervisors, and $1000/week for retail managers.

Types of courses

A range of retail courses is available Australia-wide. Whether you’re just starting out in the industry and need an introductory-style course to provide basic skills, or if you’ve got your sights set on a supervisory or management position in the retail world, there’s a course out there that can help you on your way to a successful career. Let’s break down the types of retail courses available and what each type involves.

Short courses

Retail short courses provide a general introduction to the industry, or to a specific aspect of working in the world of retail. Short courses can be undertaken by those completely new to retail or those already employed in the industry who wish to expand their skills in a particular area.

Certificate I

A Certificate I in Retail Services provides students with a pathway to work in a variety of places within the retail sector. In a Certificate I course, you’ll learn basic workplace skills such as communication, use of digital technology and working effectively in a service environment.

Certificate II

A general retail Certificate II course will prepare you to perform a range of roles and tasks in the retail environment and can form part of a pathway to higher-level courses. Specialised Certificate II-level courses are also available in areas such as retail cosmetics, retail nursery and baking.

Certificate III

There are a range of Certificate III retail courses available, from general retail operations courses to more specific programs in areas like interior decoration retail services, kitchen and bathroom retail services, and retail butcher meat processing.

Certificate IV

Higher-level Certificate IV courses generally provide a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge in the area of retail management. There are also specialised courses available in areas such as retail nursery and customer engagement.

Career Outcomes

There are so many opportunities available when you pursue a career in retail, with a wide range of work environments to choose from and clear paths for career progression. You could find work anywhere from a supermarket or fast food restaurant to a department store or specialty retailer. Potential job titles include:

  • Team Leader
  • Cashier
  • Retail Sales Supervisor
  • Retail Salesperson
  • Customer Service Assistant