Not Just a Christmas Casual: Retail as a Promising Career Path

Sales assistant gift wrapping item in store

Sure, as we settle into the winter months, it might seem a little early to start thinking about part-time and casual work over the summer Christmas break. But you’d be wrong. Annual data compiled by Indeed’s data analytics team consistently shows Christmas job opportunities begin appearing online as early as August each year, peaking between September and October.

Approaching peak season for Christmas job opportunities

There’s no room for complacency either when it comes to securing Christmas work. The data also reveals there are typically fewer opportunities remaining in December despite an abundance of enthusiastic and eager job seekers–no doubt largely driven by the start of school and university holidays.

Opportunities for Christmas jobs peak in September

The message, then, is clear; to stand a good chance of landing that part-time or casual gig, now could be a good time to start looking. Employers too should start getting their job descriptions in shape, so they’re in front of job seekers when they’re most active.

With shopping and Christmas going hand-in-hand, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the retail sector provides a high proportion of jobs over the Christmas period. In fact, retail accounts for over two-thirds (67%) of Christmas job opportunities in Australia and, today, these jobs could be a diverse range of career opportunities—beyond the usual sales-driven roles.

67 per cent of Christmas job opportunities in Australia are in retail

Modern retail is calling out for talented professionals

For job seekers open to the idea of casual retail work, getting all your ducks in a row early could pay off in the longer-term. While casual and part-time retail work (particularly during the Christmas period) is often viewed as just a way for people to earn a little extra cash in their spare time, these jobs could provide invaluable experience and training in preparation for a rewarding career in the sector.

Changing consumer expectations means that some retailers are experimenting with innovation to deliver new experiences and differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. In turn, there could be more demand for diversely skilled and talented individuals who can see the bigger picture of what’s going on and drive change. As the industry evolves, increasing numbers of professionals could turn to retail as a promising career path.

Opportunity driven by changing consumer expectations and technology

A recent report by NAB into the trends reshaping retail identifies a number of implications for the Australian retail marketplace as we head into the future. The report suggests retailers will place increasing focus on the customer experience to set themselves apart from competitors through methods such as increased personalisation, improved logistics capabilities for cheaper and faster deliveries, and increased customer engagement across multiple channels whether in-store, online or via app technology.

There are plenty of examples of how these trends are emerging across Australia’s retail sector. While some retailers are delivering excellent customer experiences through live assisted chat online, others are striving for the best in-store experiences relevant to their target customer through workshops, live demonstrations, interactive in-store displays and even virtual reality. In fact, in June last year, IKEA launched its first virtual reality store for Australia’s regional areas.

It appears that Australians actually favour going into physical stores to browsing the web. A recent survey by Monash Business School’s Australian Consumer, Retail and Services research unit found 65% of Aussie shoppers prefer using bricks-and-mortar stores, compared to only 18% who said shopping online was their preference.

Meanwhile, it’s reported that 42% of Australian retailers are now offering “click and collect” services to combine the benefits of in-store and online shopping, while Australia Post launched its subscription service, Shipster, late last year to bring free deliveries for select retail partners.

42 per cent of Aussie retailers now offer click and collect

Technology and consumer expectations are continuing to have a profound impact on the retail sector. Aside from the customer experience, the NAB report highlights data mining and analytics will become an increasingly important component of a retail strategy from supply chain through to post purchase consumer experience.

For example, while targeted marketing practices are becoming commonplace, retailers are beginning to identify geographical and seasonal buying patterns to make inventory management and distribution faster and more efficient than ever before. The report also reveals mobile contactless payments are expected to double between 2017 and 2021.

Retail: A platform for diverse career pathways

The bricks and mortar retail sector is embarking on a transformation which could result in new jobs and career pathways. What’s more, there’ll be demand for tech-savvy and innovative individuals such as software engineers, developers, marketing analysts, and social media experts who can deliver great experiences and drive sales.

So, if you’ve been thinking it’s too early to secure your Xmas job in the retail space, why
not give it some more (careful) thought? Or, why not take a look to find out whether an incredible retail opportunity in your current field of work is being advertised right now?

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