It's a tough job market out there, as many newly-minted college graduates are about to discover. But before they get discouraged about their prospects in their chosen field, the retail industry would like them to consider working in retail.
Maybe that's a depressing thought for someone who just spent $50,000 on a bachelor's degree, but it shouldn't. At least that's the view of Ramon Winemberg, a sales and operations executive with more than three decades of experience.
Winemberg, a former regional vice president for Brookstone stores in the western United States who also ran field operations for Team Mobile in Southern California and Nevada, says not all retailers and retail jobs are alike. High-end brands, especially, are in need of well-educated, capable employees. The sector, he says, is where the jobs are.
"The retail trade sector is the largest employer in the United States," Winemberg said. "Even more compelling, the retail industry is expected to add even more sector jobs in the coming years and will continue to grow annually."
While the current job market may not have openings in the field many graduates have chosen, chances are, Winemberg says, there's a retail outlet that can use their skills. For example, if you speak multiple languages, retailers with worldwide operations might find you attractive.
0Winemberg says retailers struggle to attract and retain the best and the brightest because of a misconception that all jobs in the industry are low-paying, entry level, or lack job potential.
"There are many great paying and challenging opportunities available in a wide variety of business disciplines," he said.
In fact, national and global retailers are among the most aggressive recruiters in this job market. Most of the better retail companies have well-established college recruitment programs in place in order to bring on high potential candidates for key growth positions.
Not all the jobs are behind a counter, waiting on consumers. But Winemberg says even those jobs are not a bad place to start.
"Many successful executives point to the training and experience they gained in early career retail jobs and the lessons they learned in customer service and real consumer trade as compass points that still guide them today," he said.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects 1,781,000 students at the bachelor's degree level will graduate as the college Class of 2012 and enter the labor market.