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Retail and Wholesale

Overview

The Retail and Wholesale industry is concerned with the purchase and sale of goods. In the case of Retail, these sales are largely to the general public, whereas Wholesale has a customer base comprised of businesses. In 2015 approximately one out of every nine Australians was employed in the Retail Trade industry.

Included in the Retail and Wholesale industry is the subsidiary sector of Community Pharmacy, which has a distinct set of needs and training.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Wholesale and Retail IRC (this sector was formally under the jurisdiction of the Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC)

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment in the Retail Trade industry has increased since 2000, though there has been relativity little overall change between 2008 and 2017. It is projected that employment in the industry will grow modestly through until 2022. The most common occupations in the Retail Trade industry are Sales Assistant (General) and Retail Manager, with employment in both of these occupations predicted to grow between 2017 and 2022. Checkout Operators and Office Cashiers, which make up approximately 8% of workers in the Retail Trade industry, are on the other hand expected to see a decline in employment until 2022.

Employment in the Wholesale Trade industry has been variable, with an overall increase between 2000 and 2017 marked by peaks and troughs in 2013 and 2005, respectively. This industry is expected to see a slight decline in employment until 2022. Storeperson is the most common occupation within the Wholesale Trade industry, an occupation in which an increase of 1.6% in employment is predicted by the year 2022. Other occupations involved in the Wholesale Trade industry such as Sales Representatives and Technical Sales Representatives are predicted to decrease in employment levels between 2017 and 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments and completions have overall declined in Retail and Wholesale-related qualifications, with over 18,000 completions in 2014 as compared to just over 14,500 completions in 2016. The majority of training in Retail and Wholesale-related qualifications was at the certificate II and III levels, with little activity at higher or lower qualification levels. Training in these most popular qualification levels was almost entirely in the Certificate II in Retail and the Certificate III in Retail Services. The top intended occupations as a result of retail and wholesale-related training were Sales Assistant (General) and Retail Supervisors.

The majority of Retail and Wholesale-related qualifications were delivered by enterprise and private training providers, particularly in the case of qualifications at a certificate III level and above. A significant proportion of qualifications at the certificate I and II level were delivered in schools. The majority of training at every provider level was Commonwealth and state funded, with nearly all school-based training funded in this way. Over 40% of students were from New South Wales, with Queensland and Victoria accounting for approximately 20% and 15% respectively.

Commencements and completions for Retail and Wholesale-related apprentices and trainees have declined since 2010, though the level of both has remained stable between 2014 and 2016. Apprentices and trainees in this area have tended to study for the intended occupations of Retail Supervisor or Sales Assistant (General). Queensland reported the largest proportion of apprentices and trainees in training in the Retail and Wholesale field at the end of 2016, with New South Wales and Western Australian reporting the next highest proportions.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry.

For more data specific to your region please visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, please select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, please sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry Insights

Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,,<br />
Infographic data,,<br />
Title: Top priority skills,, Customer service and engagement, Technology, Communication, Leadership, Management,,<br />
Title: Top generic skills,, Customer service/Marketing, Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management, Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems, Communication/Virtual collaboration/Social Intelligence, Language Literacy and Numeracy,,<br />
Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,,<br />
Title: Top generic skills in demand,, Communication skills, Creativity, Organisational skills, Time management, Detail oriented,,<br />
Title: Top occupations in demand,, Retail manager (general), Sale assistants (general), Sale representatives (other), Information officer, Retail supervisor,,<br />
Title: Top locations,, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia,,<br />
Title: Top employers,, Coles Supermarket, Woolworths Limited, The Just Group, David Jones Limited, Harvey Norman,,<br />
Infographic source, Priority skills source: Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2016-17, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,,<br />
Infographic data,,<br />
Title: Top priority skills,, Customer service and engagement, Technology, Communication, Leadership, Management,,<br />
Title: Top generic skills,, Customer service/Marketing, Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management, Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems, Communication/Virtual collaboration/Social Intelligence, Language Literacy and Numeracy,,<br />
Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,,<br />
Title: Top generic skills in demand,, Communication skills, Creativity, Organisational skills, Time management, Detail oriented,,<br />
Title: Top occupations in demand,, Sales Representatives, Information Officers, Motor Vehicle and Vehicle Parts Sales Persons, Sales Assistants (General), Advertising, Public Relations and Sales Managers,,<br />
Title: Top locations,, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia,,<br />
Title: Top employers,, Luxottica Group, Schneider Electric, SR Limited, Lion Nathan, Ecolab,,<br />
Infographic source, Priority skills source: Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2016-17, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

Industry insights on skills needs

The key priority skills for the Retail and Wholesale industry identified in the Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 are:

  • customer service and engagement
  • technology
  • communication
  • leadership
  • management.

The top skills in demand identified by job advertisements in the industry are:

Retail:

  • communication skills
  • organisational skills
  • detail-orientated
  • team work/collaboration
  • leadership.

Wholesale:

  • communication skills
  • organisational skills
  • detail-orientated
  • planning
  • team work/collaboration.

In the above Skills Forecast a number of key challenges and opportunities are identified as facing the Retail and Wholesale industry. There is an ongoing change in customer expectations, an increasing demand for personalised service and for retailers to distinguish themselves from the competition. One example of this is a reduction in standard delivery times and a demand from customers to receive ordered goods very rapidly.

The Skills Forecast also identifies the growth in both income and population in Australia as being a valuable benefit to the Retail and Wholesale industry. This income growth has meant a rise in discretionary income and spending, a trend that is expected to continue, driving growth in retail sales.

The sector profile of retail and wholesale trade conducted by  the South Australian Training and Skills Commission highlights the effect technological change is having on the Retail and Wholesale industry, particularly in the area of decision making and e-commerce. There is also a need for business to maintain appropriate social media engagement with customers, meaning staff skills in these areas are vital.

The 2015 Environmental scan by Service Skills Australia identifies the need for traditional retail stores to entice customers to shop in person given the rise of e-commerce. Stores are increasingly employing methods such as ‘retail theatre’ – events, entertainment and workshops relevant to the goods the store is offering that can draw customers in. Another option is the integration of new technological products in-store, such as mobile point of sales devices that can return receipts via email, or location-based deals, offered to customers who are using their smartphone in the store.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 1 digit Retail Trade Industry and Wholesale Trade Industry, employment projections to May 2022
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations , employment projections to May 2022
  • 1333 Importers, Exporters and Wholesalers
  • 1421 Retail Managers
  • 5911 Purchasing and Supply Logistics Clerks
  • 6113 Sales Representatives
  • 6211 Sales Assistants (General)
  • 6311 Checkout Operators and Office Cashiers
  • 7411 Storepersons
  • 8912 Shelf Fillers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 < http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 1 digit Retail Trade Industry and Wholesale Trade Industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 1 digit Retail Trade Industry and Wholesale Trade Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.                                                                                                                                  

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • SIR,WRP,WRR,WRW Training Packages
  • Certificate I in Retail Services      
  • SIR10107 - Certificate I in Retail Services
  • SIR10116 - Certificate I in Retail Services
  • Certificate II in Retail Services
  • SIR20207 - Certificate II in Retail
  • SIR20212 - Certificate II in Retail Services
  • SIR20312 - Certificate II in Retail Fast Food
  • WRR20102 - Certificate II in Retail Operations
  • SIR20216 - Certificate II in Retail Services                                                                   
  • SIR20307 - Certificate II in Wholesale
  • SIR30412 - Certificate III in Business to Business Sales
  • Certificate III in Retail
  • SIR30207 - Certificate III in Retail
  • SIR30212 - Certificate III in Retail Operations
  • WRR30202 - Certificate III in Retail Operations
  • SIR30312 - Certificate III in Retail Supervision
  • SIR30216 - Certificate III in Retail
  • SIR30307 - Certificate III in Wholesale
  • Certificate IV in Retail Management         
  • SIR40207 - Certificate IV in Retail Management
  • SIR40212 - Certificate IV in Retail Management
  • SIR40316 - Certificate IV in Retail Management           
  • Diploma of Retail Leadership       
  • SIR50107 - Diploma of Retail Management
  • SIR50112 - Diploma of Retail Management
  • SIR80112 - Graduate Certificate in Retail Leadership  
  • SIR50116 - Diploma of Retail Leadership                                                                     
  • Diploma of Visual Merchandising              
  • SIR50207 - Diploma of Visual Merchandising
  • SIR50212 - Diploma of Visual Merchandising.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

SIR, WRP, WRR, WRW Training Packages apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Retail, Wholesale and Personal Services Industry Reference Committee’s 2017 IRC Skills Forecast.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labor insight – real-time labor market information tool. <http://www.burning-glass.com>. 2017.

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to August 2017 are included in the analysis. Data shown is the top five advertised VET-related occupations (1–6 digit level) in the Retail Trade industry and the Wholesale Trade industry and the top five locations and employers according to job advertisements.
  • Skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass labour insights job vacancy data tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for VET-related occupations in the industry and occupations listed above.
Updated: 02 Oct 2018
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