If you're in this sector, you probably already have a thorough understanding of either electrical goods, telecoms equipment — or both. Armed with either, it's fairly easy to move around between electrical or telecoms retailers.
As an ambitious retail professional, you get a selection of the usual roles, including buyers, visual merchandisers, store managers, area managers and so on. But there are also more specialised jobs, such as electrical technician, product technologists and category manager. The latter is often a particularly well-paid job in which specialists help to introduce new ranges and category initiatives.
At the beginning of your career, employers may expect you to have a related degree, but to climb the career ladder, you'll need to know your technical stuff, big time. Employers want professionals who can provide technical expertise and advice to other members of the team, visit the warehouse to make random inspections, liaise with overseas and UK suppliers to advise on quality and packaging, and travel overseas.
You also have to be up to speed on current regulations, legislation and standards, particularly, so you can advise suppliers abroad.
This is big business. You could easily find yourself working for one of Europe's leading electrical retailing groups, some of which trade through thousands of stores and online sites internationally. It's no surprise, therefore, that at the top end rewards can be high with benefits such as a company car, market-beating salary, healthcare and pension schemes and performance-related annual bonuses.
Admittedly, recruitment consultants report that margins are being squeezed in the electrical sector, partly due to the number of cheap imports, but retailers are restructuring how they buy. And the fact that the public is increasingly buying goods, including white goods, over the internet means there is an insatiable demand in retail for staff with dazzling customer service skills to ensure in-store sales targets are met.
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