Typical starting salaries for an assistant merchandiser range from £18,000 rising to £20,000 with experience.
After several years' experience, a merchandiser can expect to earn between £28,000 - £36,000.
Typical salaries for a senior merchandiser range from £45,000 to £65,000, plus a benefits package. At the top of the profession, a head or director of merchandising in a large company can earn in excess of £85,000, plus benefits.
Salaries will vary with location, employer size, turnover and product type. Large, high-street multiples often offer the highest salaries. Other benefits, such as a company car and private health insurance, are common.
Working hours are normally 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, longer working hours may be necessary to support the opening of a new store, during a special sales promotion, to launch a new product or range, or to deal with unanticipated production difficulties.
Weekend or evening working is occasionally necessary to visit stores or for competitive shopping.
Work is mainly office-based with a balance between individual work and regular team contact.
There are no real opportunities for self-employment or freelance work unless you set up as a retail consultant.
It can be difficult to get part-time work because of the need to be available daily to deal with problems with suppliers. However, some companies may offer flexible working hours.
Gender balance within the occupation is around 50:50 in products such as homewares, electrical and groceries, but this can increase to 90% female in fashion.
Merchandising can vary in different retail organisations and it can be a head office or a branch-based function. Most retail merchandisers work from head offices, the majority of which are in London and the South East or in other large cities.
Dress code depends upon the company, but is usually formal.
The job involves working in a fast-moving and competitive environment, with high levels of responsibility for potentially very large budgets, where even minor errors can result in vast reductions in profit. This aspect can either be motivating and challenging or a source of stress.
Although most of the work is office-based, some time will be spent each week visiting stores or suppliers and occasionally attending trade fairs or fashion shows. This may involve spending short periods of time away from home.
There can occasionally be opportunities for overseas travel, particularly in fashion, for example to accompany buyers to Latin America, East Asia or South East Asia, depending on the product range. At senior levels, overseas travel may be required to find new suppliers, select and buy goods or deal with problems with manufacturers.
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