The Hottest Careers in Retailing for 2014 and Beyond

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If you’re pursuing a career in retailing and want to know where the jobs will be in 2014, look to Big Data and Supply Chain. The demand in these areas is expected to be huge as struggling retailers try to “get their heads around” shifting consumer buying habits and placing products on shelves at the right time. The search is on to find talented young comers who can digest personalized information and create ever more efficient delivery systems in today’s far-flung global economy.

Retailing Needs Big Data Like Never Before

Big data experts can help retailers personalize the buying experience to keep customers engaged, satisfied and coming back. This data also provides key metrics for gauging the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. As a Big Data expert, you’ll be involved in collecting, processing and analyzing silos of data about the customer experience. You’ll become the “go-to” customer relationship management expert, providing valuable insights into the psychology and buying behavior of customers. This includes an analysis of both internal and external data to create a more personalized and individualized buying experience. Big Data experts will also guide retailers into what tomorrow’s consumers will want and need;much as Apple did by creating a need and want for its iPhone and iPad. An article in Harvard Business Review by Kristian J. Hammond, founder of the University of Chicago’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and CTO of Narrative Science, noted that what today’s retailers need are experts who can turn Big Data into a story, one that explains the data. Retailers need a narrative that provides context to today’s numbers by exploring the trends and comparisons a company needs to make sense of it all.

Grad Degree in Supply Chain is the New MBA

Today’s retailers are scrambling for supply chain talent, people who understand the flow of production, transport, distribution and other logistics; experts who can unite the engineering and financial aspects of these areas. In today’s global economy, companies who have sourcing partners in latitudes far and wide need supply chain expertise. Systems must be in place and working to ensure quick turnarounds so outlets remain stocked with the products dominated by ever-changing trends. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that with the increasing complexity of today’s global operations, retailers desperately need people with supply chain expertise. Some are referring to a graduate degree in supply chain management  as "the new MBA.” David Closs , who chairs the supply chain management department at Michigan State University's Broad College of Business, noted that the need for supply chain talent will be strong for the next decade and beyond--especially for those with a graduate degree. Tom DeCaro Executive Vice President Supply Chain at Michaels Stores, Inc., notes that Michaels stocks over 40,000 separate products at its 1,100 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Since it’s difficult to forecast which items customers want, establishing a smooth path from factory to store shelf is critical to the retailer’s success.

Want your retailing career to take off? Point it toward the hottest new areas—Big Data and Supply Chain.


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