The NRF Reminds Us That Retail Jobs Aren’t Just for Part-Timers and Discount Holiday Gifts

The National Retail Federation has a campaign, "This is Retail," that encourages long-term careers in that industry.

The National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade association in the world, has launched a campaign, “This Is Retail,” that’s focused on careers in that industry, which is most often thought of as a professional pit stop.

“Did you know that retail supports 42 million American jobs? Think those are all behind a cash register? Think again,” the campaign homepage reads.

Indeed, when we think of retail jobs, we tend to think of students working in the mall for a little extra money for books and beer. Or perhaps you or someone you know has taken a retail job at a favorite store just to get a killer discount on holiday gifts or on a summer wardrobe.

This campaign points out that retail jobs go in all different directions — from working in a shop to e-commerce and social media.

But perhaps speaking best to the need for jobs at a time when we still have a 6.7 percent unemployment rate and more than two million who are “marginally attached to the labor force” is the story of Claudine McKenzie, a 17-year Walmart veteran.

McKenzie started as a sales associate when she was three months pregnant. Now with two children, a job as head of a Florida Walmart, and in hot pursuit of a Master’s degree, she credits the retailer for helping her to build a successful career in retail. Not too often you hear praises for the way Walmart helps its employees huh?

The campaign also emphasizes the innovation that comes with a career in this industry. For the purposes of the industry, attracting innovative workers might be the most important part of this campaign. Reminding people who have fresh ideas about how to reach and engage with audiences that retail is an avenue to explore benefits that industry and job seekers alike.