Retail companies as employers

Occupations in retail

Click and Collect

The retail and wholesale sector is one of the biggest employers and providers of training in Germany. More than four million individuals are employed in the German retail sector, among them some 175,000 trainees and apprentices. The most important skilled occupation in the retail sector is that of “Kaufmann/Kauffrau im Einzelhandel” (retail sales assistant). About 26,500 people started training for this occupation in 2014. This influx of new trainees made it the most popular vocational course in Germany. With around 25,200 new trainees, “Verkäufer/Verkäuferin” (salesperson) was the second most popular skilled occupation. In total, around 70,000 young workers began their vocational training in retail in 2014.

Swing Shopper

A look at Europe reveals the economic importance of the retail and wholesale sector: more than 30 million people work for over six million retail and whole­ sale companies within the European Union, making the sector one of the most important employers in Europe. Hardly any other industry can offer such a diverse range of career paths and responsibilities.

As one of the most important retail and wholesale companies in the world, METRO GROUP offers its employees a wide range of career opportunities in Germany and abroad. Be it by providing training or promoting international manage­ ment talent – METRO GROUP certainly fulfils its claim of being an international talent factory for young and aspiring professionals in the retail sector.

1. Germany’s dual vocational training system

The dual vocational training programme is carried out in two settings: in a company and at the vocational school. Three to four days per week, the trainees receive hands­on training within a company; one to two days a week, they attend classes at the school. The dual vocational training system is also available in Austria and Switzer­ land. One thing these systems all have in common is the concept of “vocational readiness” – this term supports our claim to fully provide trainees with the vocational knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for their profession and to teach them how to put their skills to practice. The school­based theoretical training is sup­ plemented by a direct transfer into practice. In neighbouring EU countries, vocational basics are usually taught using an instructional setting. Short internships at com­ panies only give a rough glimpse into their operations.

2. Alliance for initial and further training

On 12 December 2014, the German Federal Government, along with representatives from business, unions and Germany’s federal states, adopted the 2015–2018 Alliance for Initial and Further Training.
The agreement replaced the National Pact for Training and Skilled Recruits, which expired at the end of 2014.

The partners will work together to strengthen the dual vocational training system in Germany and to promote equality in vocational and academic training programmes. Vocational training programmes have clear precedence within the project.
The partners have cooperated to define strategic areas for action and agreed on measures. These focus on the following:

  • Significantly increasing the importance and attractiveness of vocational training in Germany;
  • Further reducing the number of students that leave school without formal qualifi­cations;
  • Demonstrating to those interested in completing training – within the context of the guarantees specified in the coalition agreement – the shortest path possible to obtaining a vocational certificate;
  • Sustainably reducing problems pertaining to companies finding suitable applicants in the area and within their field;
  • On the basis of more advanced data, increasing the number of trainee positions offered and the number of establishments that offer training;
  • Further reducing the number of young people in transition and orienting the transition area towards state­approved vocational occupations as much as possible;
  • Continuously improving the quality of training; and strengthening training and, in particular, further education.

3. Continuing professional development (cpd) and advanced qualifications in retail

Tougher competition, market globalisation and the rapid development of new tech­ nologies, materials and products present a constant challenge for retail companies. These changes affect the whole value chain. Well­qualified managers and staff are needed to implement innovative ideas and adjust the way companies are managed to account for these changes in society. In light of this, staff training is a competitive factor for any company as a whole and for individual employees.

Tante-Emma-Laden (Corner store)

The colleges and training centres which serve the German retail sector offer com­ prehensive, professional and industry­oriented CPD courses covering all issues which are interesting and important for retailers. Refresher courses are available to keep employees’ and managers’ existing knowledge and skills up to date and adjust them as necessary.

Management skills training is a comprehensive qualification course designed to enable potential managers to fill positions with greater responsibilities in a company.