Building career security is a crucial step for employees. The retail industry employs a large workforce; the shelf stacker, the cashier and the shop assistant front it. However, its back end includes an army of career managers, buyers, accountants, and human resource career professionals, who often train in retail as a stepping stone for other careers.
The retail industry bends to consumer and economic trends and this has a direct effect on people’s careers. A credit crunch affects credit and lack of credit indirectly affects a family’s disposable income. Inflation and higher food prices have not helped that trend. Although people still have to eat they do not have to have new fashion accessories. Many people in the UK have had to prioritise their needs when it comes to spending.
Retailers in the last twenty years have had to pare down their profits to maintain sales. The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) report, predicted that by 2016 online sales will represent over 20% of all retail sales. The creation of better online security and more interactive websites will ensure that online shopping will increase and this will have an immediate effect on people’s career choices and the security of their careers.
However, while being able to purchase your weekly shop online may be labour and time-saving, it may not provide the same ‘retail therapy’; the thrill of seeing an object and having to have it, and the gratification of treating oneself! People love to window shop and many would not dream of risking purchasing an outfit they had not first tried on, or a piece of fruit they had not first felt and smelt.
There will no doubt always be successful retailers and they will continue to adapt to changing economic times and work patterns. Employers are being forced to tackle life-work balance issues that will improve retail career working conditions in an industry long dogged by overwork and underpay at lower levels. While many stores now offer self-serve facilities, retailers will still have to employ increasing numbers of staff to expand their empires; Britain may well remain a nation of shopkeepers’ for a tad longer!
Learning how to build and maintain career security in uncertain economic times is a task many of us will have to perfect. Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae may sound like two friends of Mickie Mouse but the takeover of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) represents one of the largest acts of US government intervention in a private financial company in decades. Ironically, Fanny Mae was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal founded in 1938 to provide liquidity to the housing market. The fallout from their collapse will reverberate around the globe for many years. Certainly, it contributed to the credit crunch and these have historically affected career security.