Salaries are expected to remain stable for the retail industry, according to the 2012 Hays Salary Guide.

Of those surveyed, 49 per cent said they gave a 3 per cent or less salary increase in the last salary review. This number is expected remain fairly close in the next salary review. The percentage that intends to increase salaries by 3 per cent or less was 46 per cent while 12 per cent intend to give none and 38 per cent will give 3 per cent to 6 per cent.

Hays said the reason for why salaries are remaining stable is because there are more candidates coming into the market from overseas dude to the strong demand for buyers and planners, which outstrips supply. As such employers are turning to professionals from the UK, US and South Africa.

“The exception occurs in those few larger retailers with outstanding employee value propositions and where remuneration is considerably higher than many other retail businesses. In order to attract quality candidates, the salaries being paid for buyers and planners will continue to creep up over the next 12 months in these organisations,” Hays predicated in its salary guide.

Another trend has been the demand for quality store managers and senior professionals, who are in short supply. But rather than increase salaries, retailers are instead attempting to attract candidates without addressing salary levels.

In addition to this demand for store managers, there’s also a high volume of assistant store manager vacancies in response to new store openings and the high turnover of operational staff.

“Vacancies at this level move quickly as employers act to ensure quality candidates are secured,” Hays said.

One major trend has been in Australia’s online retail market, which continues to expand. Recruitment in this area continues to see the most growth in both fashion and non fashion. Consumer expectations regarding the online retail experience are maturing, which will equate to steady hiring in this space for the foreseeable future. Here the skills shortage in buying is emphasised due to the lack of experienced branded Buyers in the market.

“Attractive remuneration is essential to attract the top talent and therefore we expect to see salary increases in this area in future. The big box retailers have invested in their staff and their development,” the report said.

“As a result their employee tenure is much higher and people are encouraged to have a long lasting career in retail. This is leading to stronger candidates in the big box area and salaries have correspondingly increased.”

Several trends will also continue to impact the retail market over the coming year. The first of these is the trend of streamlining. With cost and margin at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it should be no surprise that streamlining will continue in order to make the Australian market more competitive. This will ensure we continue to attract international retailers and support the growth of our local retailers.

Looking ahead, Australia’s retail employment market will remain active as roles within buying and planning remain pivotal to profitability within a retail business. The candidate shortage in these areas looks set to remain therefore strategies for recruiting from overseas, such as the UK, will be highly beneficial.

Operationally, roles on the front line of retail will be of high importance. Therefore replacing movers as well as recruiting for new store openings will certainly be areas of activity. Salaries will remain steady, and employers will continue to develop new strategies to attract and secure skilled professionals.