The REC’s new Sales and Retail Sector Group has signalled its intention to promote a positive image of working in the sales and retail industries.

The call to arms was made at a meeting attended by representatives from Adecco, Hayes, Spring, Elizabeth Hunt as well as independents including C2 Recruitment, Beauty Consultants Bureau and Telepower.

This is the first stage of a sector group initiative designed to increase the awareness of vacancies in this sector and stimulate more jobseekers to consider sales and retail as a career option.

Commenting on the initiative, Antony Wroe, Chair of REC Sales and Retail said:

“The chances are that when you are next reading the profile of a CEO or Managing Director that appear every day in a quality newspaper, you will notice that almost all of them have some form of sales experience.

“Indeed, it’s almost a requirement if you want to be a captain of industry, yet the qualities that can be gleaned from a career in sales and retail are often overlooked by large numbers of people in the labour market. The challenge is to promote careers in sales and retail as a ‘career of choice’ and to this end we need to alert potential candidates to the skills they can acquire by working in sales and retail.”

Speaking at the event, Neil Warren, publisher of industry website, outlined the challenges presented because of the current image of working in sales and retail:

“The clumsiness, rudeness and often downright aggression of many companies and people claiming to be in ‘selling’, has been all too apparent to the business community for far too long. The numbers of ‘trusted advisors’ has seemed to pale by comparison and yet, in so much of sales and retail activity, many, many buyers have still been ‘getting lucky’ and finding that expert who really knew her stuff, guiding them effortlessly to that dream purchase.”

Neil continued: “That has always amounted to hundreds of thousands of UK sales professionals doing just that – a thoroughly professional job. It’s time we recognised these individuals and promote sales as a top career.”

Also speaking at the event was Jack Elliot from the UK branch of the Managing and Marketing Sales Association who spoke about recognition for professionalism in sales:‘

MAMSA are at the forefront, working with focus groups of employers and training providers to accredit existing assessments. We are working to national benchmarks and helping providers place qualifications on the new Qualification Credit Framework,” he said.

The overarching aim of the REC Sales and Retail Sector Group is to champion the contribution that sales and retail workers make to the economy with a total of three million workers in the UK. These staff are a critical factor in the commercial success of many organisations, both large and small.