A career in retail has always been a popular career choice. As an entry level job, it is a perfect way for teenagers to get sales experience and develop their customer service skills.

Sadly, as an increasing number of shops are shutting or at risk of closure, many people with sales skills are considering alternatives to a career in retail.

But with so many different areas within the industry, a career in retail still offers great prospects.

Options for a career in retail in the 21st century

Retail jobs require the use of customer service skills, honesty, patience, persuasion and tact. All of these skills and qualities are highly sought after and can be used in many fields.

One of the best things about a career in retail is that your skills are widely used and recognised internationally. If you want to travel, this industry is definitely for you.

Here are just some of the options that a career in retail offers you in the 21st century.

Call Centres

If you can’t beat the online sales boom, join it. Working in a call centre offers you the chance to use your customer service and IT skills.

Speaking to people on the phone requires you to demonstrate the customer services skills that are essential in the retail environment.

A Career in retail – The hospitality sector

Bars / Restaurants

We humans like to socialise. A 2016 US survey found that millenials were spending 44% of food dollars eating out. That works out at around 3,000 per year. The average 16 – 24 year-old is spending more on food.

This means that there are jobs to be had in the hospitality sector. So whilst other retail is firing, food and drink outlets such as sandwich chain stores like Subway are hiring.

If this is your first job, make sure you create an entry into retail CV  that will get you interviews.

Coffee Bars / Shops

career in retail

All over the world in towns and city centres, coffee bars providing Cappuccinos, Espressos, Lattes are incredibly popular.

Many coffee shops offer places where business can be conducted. Freelancers can plug in their laptops and work in a relaxed atmosphere.

A friendly, smiling Barista is seldom out of work. The big coffee chains like Starbucks, Costa, Tim Horton’s have over 40,000 outlets worldwide. This means they can offer a career in retail with international travel. That alone is appealing to many young people.

Routes to a traditional career in retail

Department Stores

Department stores offer a structured career path and can be considered a traditional route into sales and retail.

Many CEOs of leading department stores have worked their way to the top.

career in retail


Although smaller high street shops are seeing sales shift to the online market, high-end fashion still tends to thrive. Almost all major cities have a shopping mall where prestige brands usually have outlets.

There are great career opportunities in fashion. Buyers travel the globe to attend leading fashion shows. Many editors of fashion magazines began their careers in retail sales.

Fast growing areas offering a career in retail

Information Technology

Information Technology is a fast-paced industry that can provide a host of retail career opportunities.

Communications / Smartphones

Millenials are tech savvy and love their gadgets – especially their phones.

Over 1.4 billion smartphones were sold in 2017. Not surprisingly, you can usually find a phone shop or outlet within a few miles of your home or office.

The top 3 manufacturers – Apple, Samsung and Huawei are amongst the biggest companies in the world. With the investment made by IT companies, there are plenty of jobs in this sector.


The video gaming industry generated around $108 billion in 2017.  Top games consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch are known globally.

The release of a leading video game such as Call of Duty or Dragon Ball FighterZ always sees sales soar. Specialist games shops are a great place for those with a passion and knowledge of the latest games.

Logistics / Warehouse

Logistics is one sector of the retail industry that has grown substantially over the 21st century. This growth has opened up many opportunities for a career in retail within warehouses.

Organisations such as Amazon and AliBaba generate huge online sales. So every online sale means an item waiting in a warehouse to be picked, packed and dispatched. As a result customer services, sales and retail skills are in demand.

Luxury Goods

Today there are more billionaires and millionaires than ever. This has meant a rise in sales of luxury goods such as houses, yachts, cars, art, jewellery and fashion.

All of this is great news for those seeking a career in retail that offers the potential of earning a considerable salary and commission.

With all these opportunities for a career in retail, it is essential that you have a really good retail CV.