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Retail Career Job Profile - Management Trainee


Wal-Mart Opens First 24-Hour 'SuperCenter' In LA County
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People chosen to participate in a retail management trainee program will receive the company-specific training and on-the-job experience they need to assume a position as a retail store manager. As a management trainee you will learn supervisory and technical skills that are in alignment with the company's philosophies and operational strategies. In this position you will work as an apprentice under at least one experienced store manager, and you will gain the skills and experience in merchandising, advertising, inventory, bookkeeping, and human resources that will position you for advancement in your retail career.

Key Responsibilities:

The management trainee's primary responsibility is to participate in training experiences, learn new skills, and to demonstrate increasing proficienciy and expertise with managerial responsibilities. The management trainee program should prepare you for the decisions you will be making, and the actions you will be taking in the areas of people management, operations management, and merchandising management when you assume the role of store manager.

People Management:

Under the guidance of an experienced manager, you will participate in all employee-related management functions including interviewing, hiring, training, coaching, motivation, discipline, performance appraisal, conflict resolution, and the administation of human resources policies and initiatives. By gaining practical experience in each of these areas, management trainees will develop people skills that will allow them to successfully lead their own team of store employees. You will also be expected to serve as a role model for customer service, and set the pace for service excellence for all employees.

Operations Management:

You will be learning the operational procedures for the store as a management trainee, and then you will supervise others as they complete these same tasks in a thorough and timely manner. You will be ensuring that banking transactions, daily paperwork, and company reports are completed accurately and on time. General maintenance, cleanliness, facility safety, and opening and closing procedures will also be your responsibility. In your role as a management trainee, you may also be asked to assume complete responsibility for the store in the store manager's absence.

Prior Experience:

Most employers would prefer that their management trainees have some previous retail experience, but not all will require it. A basic knowledge of retail terminology and some insightful experience gained as a retail customer will demonstrate your interest in the industry to your potential employer. An understanding of the importance of customer service and a commitment to delivering it, will likely be considered essential for management trainee candidates. Employers will be swayed favorably by concrete examples of your previous successes in delivering superior customer experiences and building customer loyalty.

Qualifications for Management Trainees:

Employers will be looking for candidates who demonstrate natural leadership abilities, and those who exude confidence and an air of authority. A management trainee will be expected to exhibit the qualities that the company's most successful managers possess. These qualities include self-motivation, resourcefulness, creativity, organization, attention to detail, and a commitment to excellence. Candidates with an outgoing personality and approachable demeanor will be chosen for management trainee positions more often because these qualities help them build successful relationships with both customers and employees.

Skill Requirements:

Although a management trainee program is designed to help you gain expertise, you will still need to possess certain fundamental skills to be considered for this position. Excellent communication skills are essential, including reading, writing, listening and speaking in the primary language used by the company and its customers.

Basic organization, multi-tasking, and problem-solving skills will be needed along with the ability to work well under pressure and meet demanding deadlines. You will also need to bring basic computer, typing and mathematical skills with you to this job. position.

Physical Requirements:

Store management trainees will usually be physically active for a majority of their work week. Generally management trainees will need to be able to stand, walk, kneel, stoop, climb ladders, use stairs, reach, pull and lift objects up to 75 pounds. Certain compensations may be available for those with disabilities, depending on the physical facilities of the store in which they will be working.

Additional Requirements:

Management trainees will need to be willing to work early mornings, late nights, weekends, holidays and extended shifts. If the store's inventory includes alcohol, management trainees will have to be 21 years old. Most employers will require you to pass a drug test, and additional background checks and screenings may be required as well. During your stint as a management trainee you may be transferred one or more times to different store locations and you will be expected to adapt to these new environments quickly and easily.

Management Trainee Education Requirements:

There are no strict educational requirements for management trainees, although a high school diploma or GED is generally preferred. Some companies will hire college students into the management trainee program before graduation. Others will require some type of associate or bachelors degree. Most retail operations will consider graduates from many different disciplines for entry into their management training program.


Management trainees can receive a salary between $18,000 and $49,000 per year. The geographic location of the store and the size of the company accounts for the wide salary range. Those with prior retail or management experience may also receive higher compensation. Management trainees usually receive full-time salaried benefits which may include medical, dental and vision coverage, paid vacation, sick pay, profit sharing or stock options, and a 401K or pension plan. Most retail organizations offer generous merchandise discounts to members of its management team.

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