Retail, Hair & Beauty Services

The retail industry is the largest employer of young people in Australia. It’s also our largest single employing industry, with one in ten working Australians engaged in retail jobs. Point of sale technologies and customer engagement strategies are changing the nature of retail work, and employers are looking for people who can adapt to rapid shifts in technology. If you’re interested in buying and selling goods and working with people, you’ll be amazed at the career choices available to you in this exciting industry.

Contribution to the Australian economy

Retail Trade

Industry Value

$75.5 billion

Gross value added

People Employed


People employed in the sector

Business Trading


Businesses trading in the sector

* Statistics sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. For more information, please refer to the Statistics Explained page.

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO SUCCEED. Real Skills for Real Careers

Sectors & Occupations

The retail, hair and beauty services landscape is very broad. It includes car retailers, service stations, supermarkets, chemists, department stores, florists, online retailers, hairdressing salons and beauty salons. A large percentage of the retail workforce gained their practical skills through ‘real life’ vocational education and training (VET) courses.

Check out a sample of the most popular occupations in each sector. Click on them for more information.

Want to view courses related to this Industry?

Apprenticeships & Traineeships

Australian Apprenticeships (apprenticeships and traineeships) are an important part of VET. Gaining a VET qualification through an Australian Apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to train, study and earn an income at a variety of qualification levels in most occupations. Australian Apprenticeships combine time at work with training, and can be full-time, part-time or school-based.

Search Apprenticeship & Traineeship Courses in this Industry

Career Stories

VET delivers outstanding employment results for its graduates – watch the following stories and see for yourself. You will be amazed at the career pathways that a VET qualification can unlock for you in the retail, hair and beauty services industry.

Josiah’s Story - Video Thumbnail

Josiah’s Story

I enjoyed being able to earn a bit of money while learning at the same time.”

VET Qualification: Certificate IV in Retail Management

Career: Store Manager

Interviewed alongside his mother, Josiah’s initial experience of the retail industry was in an after-school job. Inspired by his first manager to make retail his career, he pursued ways to develop his skills and readily accepted his employer’s offer to undertake training.

Jessica’s Story - Video Thumbnail

Jessica’s Story

My Australian Apprenticeship allowed me to fulfil my dreams of working on high fashion and catwalks within the industry.

VET Qualification: Certificate III in Hairdressing

Career: Master Stylist

Jessica dreamed of a career in creative fashion and was thrilled to secure an apprenticeship at a respected hairdressing salon – against the advice of those around her who encouraged her to pursue tertiary studies. She won an award from the Canberra Institute of Technology for her dedication to her studies, and also won first place in a photographic competition.

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Drakes Supermarkets

Drakes decided to use nationally recognised training as a retention strategy.”

Industry: Retail

Employees: 6,000

Drakes Supermarkets places high importance on staff training to continually develop and improve its customer service. The company’s recruitment, training and retention strategies all aim to counter the challenges of high turnover of entry level staff in the retail industry.

Skills for your Career

My Skills can help you find the right course to ignite your career in the retail, hair and beauty services industry. You can search for VET courses and compare information such as fees, durations, graduate satisfaction, job prospects and available subsidies.

There are a number of different ways to search for VET courses on My Skills.

Course Search

Search for keywords in course titles, such as ‘retail’ or ‘hairdressing’:

Local Providers

Explore Training Providers in your area:

Careers in Demand

Hairdressers are currently in demand across Australia, so there’s a good chance of ongoing employment when you complete your training. If you want to set yourself up for a rewarding career, check out the following VET courses that will give you the practical skills you need to gain employment as a hairdresser.

Growth Areas

Supermarkets and grocery stores are the largest employing sectors in the industry. If you’re interested in a career in retail, the following VET courses are worth considering, because they will prepare you for work in areas where employment is expected to grow over the next three years.

Data has been sourced from the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment and SSO/IRC Industry Skills Forecasts (Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services).


With so much information about careers, it’s hard to know where to start or where to look.
Here are a few sites you may find useful once you’ve found the right VET course and training provider on My Skills.