The retail industry is expected to grow at the rate of 12 per cent annually in the next 10 years, according to the Technopack research agency. And the demand for 1.25 million retail personnel is estimated to zoom up to 3.25 million by the end of 2008-09, according to the Retail Association of India.
Of late, Reliance India, Pantaloons, RP Group, Titan, Raymonds, Westside, Barista, Adidas, Bata, Café Coffee Day, Crossword, Food World, Nilgiris and Trent have opened retail chains in India, engendering huge employment opportunities for trained retail management professionals.
This in essence means more jobs as department managers, assistant store managers, buyer trainee, merchandising assistant, customer service representative, and management trainees.
Business schools like Wellingkar, KJ Somaiya and Lala Lajpatrai offer postgraduate diplomas in retail management. After the courses, the students can find placement in retail organisations at the management level. There are also shorter courses offered for placements as supervisors and sales persons.
Venkat Ramani, visiting faculty at the colleges, says,“Business schools are making future retail industry leaders and the smaller institutes are producing skilled labour.”
The course curriculum is industry-specific. Over one-year, students are taught different facets of the retail industry with the accent on ensuring that the customer is king. There is also an emphasis on consumer psychology and customer interaction.
After completing the course students can start as sales persons or supervisors in any retail organisation. They could also apply for a managerial position. As students are industry-trained most companies are willing to hire them immediately after passing out.
Opportunities are also growing overseas for retail management professionals. They can work as store manager, inventory-monitoring officer or as marketing and sales executives. A flair for communication and zeal to sell with an aggressive go-getter attitude is a must for applying for managerial and administrative jobs in companies abroad.
The pay package varies in keeping with the hiring company. “Most of us are given Rs 8,000 per month as sales persons at the entry level,” says Suresh Kumar, student at ITI.
Vijay Dutt, ex-student of Wellingkar, on the other hand, states that pay packages for a fresher can be as high as Rs 5 lakh a year. Realistically, he admits that the depressed financial scene will place a dampener on this year’s placements.