Careers Guide for jobs

Sales Management Career Advice

If you are wondering how to become a sales manager, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers within sales and retail, as well as management job prospects in the UK.

The Job Description
Retail managers are responsible for running retail outlets ranging from large supermarkets to small independent stores. Some managers will run a department or section, while others are responsible for the overall business success of a store.

As a retail manager, some of your duties would depend on the type of store and whether it is independent or part of a chain. Your work could involve:

managing and motivating staff
making the sure that your store or department meets sales targets
looking for ways to increase sales and improve efficiency
managing stock levels
analysing sales figures and forecasting future sales
dealing with takings
recruiting and training new staff
being aware of competitors, market trends and customer expectations
ensuring standards for quality, customer service and health and safety are met
handling any customer complaints or queries
organising special promotions, displays and events.
You might also need to serve customers when required.

Person Specification
The key personal attributes of good retail managers include:

be a good team leader with lots of self-motivation
be able to communicate clearly with a variety of people at all levels
be committed to the needs of the customer
have strong decision making skills
be willing to take on responsibility
have the ability to understand relevant laws
be comfortable with the use of information technology.

How to become a sales manager
To become a retail manager you do not usually need specific qualifications, although you will need to be competent in maths and IT. It is most common to be promoted to supervisor or manager in-house after you have gained experience as a sales assistant. You may also be at an advantage if you have management experience from other industries.

You may be able to get into the retail industry through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit

You could also join a large retail chain directly as a trainee manager, through a management training scheme. Most companies will ask you to be qualified to at least A level standard to join a management training scheme.

When you are looking for work, you may find it useful to have a foundation degree, BTEC HNC or degree in retail management, business or a marketing-related subject. You can take a retail degree as a ‘sandwich course’, which includes a year's work placement to give you hands-on experience.

Training and Development
Once you are working as a retail manager, you may be offered some in-house training if you work for a retail chain. You will also be expected to develop your management skills on the job.

Your training may include the chance to gain work-based qualifications such as NVQ Level 2 in Retail Skills, Level 3 in Retail and Level 4 in Sales.

Structured graduate management training schemes usually last around 18 months to two years. Larger organisations will offer a programme of ongoing training throughout your retail career.

The Pay (a rough guide)
Starting salaries are usually between £14,000 and £20,000 a year.
With experience this can rise to between £21,000 and £28,000 a year.
Some senior store managers earn £40,000 a year or more.
You may also earn extra bonuses and commission for meeting sales targets.

Job Prospects
The retail sector employs around three million people, or 11% of the UK’s workforce.

Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, Jobcentre Plus, on employers' own websites, in-store and on specialist recruitment websites.

With experience, you could progress to area or regional manager if you work for a retail chain.

Useful retail and sales resources:
Skillsmart Retail
Fourth Floor
93 Newman Street
Tel: 0800 093 5001