The Editorial Board deserves a lump of coal in their stocking this Christmas. Their Black Friday editorial (“Our View: Don’t discount the human cost of the retail industry”) attempts to paint the retail industry with a broad, negative brush, and unfairly pushes the perception that retail jobs are only customer service positions lacking good pay and benefits.

The writers focused their attention on the customer service jobs that are most often associated with retail. Some of the entry-level, front-line jobs are perfect for someone starting out their careers, someone looking for a little extra income or someone looking for a flexible schedule. Regardless of why more than 80,000 Mainers chose retail, there is quite a bit of competition for employees these days. Retail employers are competing for quality employees like every other industry and work hard to attract and keep the people they need with competitive pay and benefits. Our association goes a step further and helps provide retail credentialing to the next generation of retailers through partners like Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, and we provide a retail-specific 401(k) program for retailers that can’t afford their own retirement plan.

The careers and opportunities that exist in retail are incredibly diverse and offer a broad range of jobs from entry-level to high-skilled professionals with hands-on skill building, training, education and professional mentoring that empowers workers to advance and build a career in retail with good pay and benefits. Regardless of where you start your retail career, there is enormous opportunity at all levels.

 

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