Buying In to a Retail Career: Key Trends in the Retail Industry

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Whether or not you identify as a “shopaholic,” you probably interact with the retail industry daily. And an industry with so much exposure naturally requires an equal number of competent workers.

Retail just made the list of the top ten best industries for employment with a moderate expected growth of 3% by 2026. Retail is experiencing an era of transition, and with the power in the hands of the consumer companies face a pressing need for technological evolution to remain competitive. But increasing income should support the retail industry and keep it stable throughout the next decade. To keep up with demand and find new revenue streams as competition grows fiercer, retail is one of the industries focusing most on digitization today. The growing importance of being online will naturally increase the number of tech jobs necessary in the retail industry, with up to 7.5 million traditional jobs replaced by tech jobs. But omnichannel approaches demand stability in traditional retail jobs as well, and retail companies remain among the largest employers across America.

Key Insights in Retail

  • Shifting demographics demand a growing focus on the human element of the industry. While Baby Boomers still own the buying power, studies suggest that they increasingly trust the brand opinions of younger people. In turn, younger people are willing to pay more for products from companies focused on sustainability and ethical operations. Meanwhile, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) remains a driving factor in brand trust and purchasing choices while also improving engagement within the workforce. And while younger people do certainly shop online, millennials and Gen-Z consider the purchasing experience and important part of buying, giving way to the rise of experiential retail.
  • Online everything. The “Amazon Effect” is particularly strong in the retail industry, and consumers expect everything to be available online, immediately. Digital retail services are doubling down on offerings and pursuing massive growth in access to products from around the world, so online shoppers can buy almost anything from anywhere. At the same time, online retailers must improve their delivery speed to combat competition from huge competitors, so the perfection of online strategy and reliable logistics are essential to survive. And with the glut of products available, consumers are trending strongly towards retail “subscriptions” that provide them with samples of products to try instead of buying a single item without testing it first. Subscriptions can also provide regular services quickly and simply; food and beverage subscriptions have revolutionized the way consumers buy groceries. While physical stores provide essential services, to cross demographic lines and remain truly competitive the future of retail is certainly online.
  • Omnichannel protects from demographic changes. Omnichannel seems to be the key to solving a potentially catastrophic demographic shift as consumer power shifts towards the millennial generation. While people of all ages buy retail online, many consumers still prefer a physical shop. But digital cost-saving services like Amazon Deals and retail startups providing cost-effective and streamlined buying solutions make online shopping the clear choice for specific products. To capitalize on buying trends and gain access to multiple generations at once, retailers must carefully construct omnichannel services to maximize their selling potential. This will naturally require a consistent strength in traditional workers that should be supplemented by employees with strong tech skills.

Top Jobs in the Retail Industry

Jobseekers with all levels of education and experience can find employment in the retail industry, whether in sales or corporate positions. Retail is one of the leading industries for employment, and any fears of staff reduction with the decrease of physical stores will be assuaged by a growing number of digitally-focused jobs. But even face-to-face employees are still an essential part of the retail experience, so the industry remains stable and is expected to experience moderate growth. See below for the most common job postings for retail careers in 2018.

Metro Area Trends in the Retail Industry

Retail is made necessary by consumers, so it is obvious that the lion’s share of job opportunities exist in densely populated metro areas. The areas with the highest number of job postings in retail are:

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria

But even if you don’t live in an urban center, there are still plenty of retail jobs that could be relevant for you. The areas with the highest concentration of retail job postings are:

  • St. George, UT (11.95%)
  • Ogden-Clearfield, UT (11.78%)
  • Midland, TX (11.76%)
  • Coeur d'Alene, ID (11.76%)
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL (11.54%)

Curious about a job in the retail industry? If you’re looking for a reliable job with plenty of career prospects, consider what’s up next for retail by signing up with Lensa to receive personalized job listings daily.

Lensa has been collecting hiring trend data since 2015, tracking over 100 million job postings and 9 million users, and we’re ready to bring that information to you through Lensa Trends.
Blog post expiration date: March 1, 2020

Paige Richmond

Paige Richmond

Paige is a Silicon Valley native who has spent the last five years based in Budapest, Hungary. After finishing her M.A. in Medieval Studies, she spent three years producing leading global HR tech conferences and building their startup product, working closely with talent industry influencers and leading practitioners. She is now a full-time content and copywriting professional.

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