The Economy Opens Up: Prepare Yourself for A Job in the Retail Industry

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With the UAE government gradually starting to allow malls and restaurants to reopen post the coronavirus lockdown, this could be a good time to start preparing yourself for a job in the retail business. The sector offers ample flexibility, room for growth, perks and benefits, and job opportunities in terms of both store type and job functions. Known for rewarding talent through incentives and quick promotions, a job in the retail industry is ideal for outgoing, result-oriented individuals looking for something more exciting and dynamic than a regular 9-5 job.

Retail Sector Outlook

Despite the proliferation of e-commerce portals in the UAE, the retail sector in the country has managed to stay resilient displaying an overall growth of 3-4% as per A.T. Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) released in December 2019. Although the growth rate could be tempered substantially in 2020 due to the impact of nationwide Covid-19 lockdowns, the industry is expected to recover in the aftermath of the crisis. Hiring is also expected to resume in such a situation albeit with some delays.

What is Retail Management?

Retail management is the job of operating retail stores in markets with the aim of helping customers buy the merchandise they want, while also improving business revenue for the company or retail chain. Though the task of retail management may appear to be quite simple to an outsider, it is actually quite complicated. There are many different elements that go into a successful retail management operation such as market research, logistics, staffing, profit generation and inventory management. The job of a retail manager is to supervise each of these aspects to ensure seamless operations leading to profitable turnovers.

Types of Jobs in Retail

Working in the retail sector comes with a plethora of job opportunities. Not only can you choose the type of job you want, candidates can also select the type of store that appeals to them and that they find exciting.

Below is a list of some common store types that job seekers might prefer:

  • Grocery and food
  • Home goods and furniture
  • Fashion and accessories
  • Supermarkets and department stores
  • Gadgets and electronics
  • Car retailing
  • Pet care

Besides a choice of store types, retailing also offers a wide choice of job function within a store/retail chain. Here are some examples:

  • Store manager
  • Floor manager
  • Sales associate
  • Cashier
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Buyer
  • Advertising and marketing manager
  • Inventory manager
  • Retail warehouse worker
  • Logistics coordinator
  • Customer service representative

The sheer range of job choices within the retail industry attracts a variety of job seekers including those from other sectors equipped with transferable skills that could prove to be useful in this industry.

Attributes & Qualifications 

Career advancement in the retail sector requires you to have a certain set of attributes focused on leadership, problem-solving, and a people-centric personality. Successful retailers are also blest with plenty of patience, good listening and communication skills, robust negotiation skills, and a result-oriented approach to help them achieve challenging goals and targets.

Unlike technical professions, a job in retail does not require any specific qualifications as career growth is mostly performance-driven. But it does help to have an undergraduate degree in any field since many established companies see it as a minimum qualification for mid-management and senior roles.

At the same time, candidates focused on a career in the retail industry may benefit from customised courses in retail management offered by several institutes across the world. These range from diplomas to degrees and include programmes such as:

  • Diploma in Retail Management
  • MBA in Retail Management
  • PG Diploma in Retail Management
  • PG Diploma in Fashion Retail Management
  • Sc. in Retail Management
  • Masters in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management

Job seekers interested in specialised careers like visual merchandising, marketing, and logistics may need to get a professional degree for their applications to be seriously considered by the employer. For instance, those with an interest in visual merchandising may opt for a course like Diploma in Retail Skills (Visual Merchandising) or Certificate in Display and Visual Merchandising. Candidates wishing to work in marketing may opt for MBA in Marketing, while those with an interest in logistics may consider a degree or diploma in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Getting a Retail Job in the UAE: Rules & Regulations  

The UAE has strict rules governing employment for expats. Foreign nationals need to have a work visa prior to starting employment in the country. Fortunately, it is quite easy to obtain a work visa provided you have been offered a job by a UAE-based company.

On the other hand, it is also possible to arrive in the UAE on a tourist visa and then proceed to look for a job. The rules allow you to convert your tourist visa into a work visa upon receiving an offer. But remember that you must either find a job or leave the country upon expiry of your tourist visa.

Those expats who are currently working in the UAE will need to follow the proper rules and regulations for switching jobs as laid down by the government. Employees with a fixed-term contract may switch to their preferred retail job either after the term has expired, or during the period the contract is in force with mutual consent between the employer and employee.

A term contract that is in force may also be terminated unilaterally by one party provided the party has given the required advance notice, and agreed to indemnify the other party as per the relevant rules.

Employees on a non-term agreement may end the contract through mutual consent or, in the case of termination by one party, with adequate advance notice.

Candidates in the midst of job search or those that have already got job offers in the retail sector should attach the highest priority to government rules and regulations as their breach could result in an employment ban resulting in severe professional and other consequences.

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