News and Insights

Retail Career Pathways

The retail industry in Ireland employs over 280,000 people, in every city, town and village, right across the country. This is more than twice that of Ireland’s second largest sector, financial services.

By its very nature retail is a fast-moving industry as organisations try to respond to customer needs and predict future trends. But if you think that a career in retail is limited to the shop floor, think again.

The retail world is a diverse industry with lots of opportunities for career development and success. From warehousing and logistics to finance, marketing and design there are a multitude of roles that are critical to the retail operation. You’ll also likely find IT, security, and administrative positions at the major retailers.

Explore some of the potential retail career paths you can pursue from across the retail spectrum:

Store Managers are at the forefront of the retail business as they interact with staff and customers on the shop floor. You would have general responsibility for meeting sales targets, checking stock levels, ensuring customers receive good service and keeping an eye on staff performance

Assistant Manager helps the store manager with day-to-day operations. Depending on the size of the store, job responsibilities may include oversight of a specific area of the store or assisting with general management

Buyers are responsible for selecting and purchasing new product ranges that are suitable for a store’s customers. You could buy for a department, a store or even a whole chain. Duties involve checking whether products are selling well and bringing in new lines that will be popular and set your store apart from the competition

Visual Merchandisers create instore displays that draw customers in and boost sales. People in visual merchandising roles carefully define the customer journey by determining where to put fixtures in a store, deciding how products are presented and showing the customer what to buy

Logistics is defined as organising the transportation of products from manufacturers to distributors in the most cost-effective, fast and environmentally friendly way possible. This can include drivers, warehouse employees and dispatch positions. People who want to advance along this path may move into management positions at warehouses or delivery departments.

Online Merchandisers are responsible for digital merchandising of the products on the company website. They measure customer interest, determine sales strategy, decide on product promotion, and analyse data.

Security & Loss Prevention specialists are hired to prevent shoplifting. Employees follow the organization’s loss control policies and cash-handling procedures. These specialists include individuals walking around the store observing customers and protecting physical merchandise, uniformed security personnel and investigators looking into internal theft

There are many opportunities to move between each of these disciplines if you feel you’d like to move your career in a different direction. As many departments work closely together on projects, it’s likely that you will pick up a diverse range of transferable skills. In both traditional brick and mortar stores and in online stores, there really are limitless opportunities for people who want to take their retail career to the next level.

This is reflected in our Retail degree programme, which is comprised of a core set of modules covering a wide range of the retail disciplines.


Retail Ireland Skillnet have worked with a vast amount of retail employees over the last 10 years, supporting their career development through education and training programmes. To take your Retail Career to the next level or if you would like some more information on any of our training programmes please email


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Retail Career Pathways

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