Working Capital - Mission Blog

<<Mission Blog Home Posted: 08-18-2021

One of the industries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic was and continues to be retail. Perhaps the lockdowns merely accelerated an inevitable change but, certainly, retail will never be the same as it was before the pandemic.

As an organization that has a large stake in the retail industry, Goodwill of Greater Washington is keenly interested and aware of the evolution taking place. In this week’s blog, we look at two questions. First, what are some of the permanent changes we can expect for retail? Second, is retail still a good career choice?

We’re not going to go into great detail on the first part of the topic. However, it is safe to say that some “new” ideas will remain:

  • Safety protocols for staff and customers
  • Retail locations as fulfillment centers – order online, pick up at the store
  • Personal shopping

There is no question that we will continue to see traditional brick-and-mortar stores shut down. However, that is category-specific. Certain outlets like food, discount stores, drug stores, health food stores, and – ahem – thrift stores will continue to see foot traffic. While buying online continues to grow, it is no substitute for the hands-on, experience-focused shopping experience.

This brings us to the second point – is retail still a good career path? We believe the answer is yes. There will always be a need for people who excel at customer service and enjoy interacting with the public. 

There are countless advantages to pursuing a retail career. It offers flexible scheduling, physical activity, growth opportunities, and employee discounts. Specific benefits for seeking career opportunities at Goodwill include: 

  • Competitive management salaries
  • Medical and life insurance
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Professional development
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Caring Fund (Employee Emergency Financial Assistance)
  • Employee Connect/EAP (family resource provider)
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Parental Leave: Paid time off for birth, adoption and foster care placement
  • Short and long term disability
  • Generous employee discount
  • No Inventory or overnights

It’s true that some retail positions across all industries may be phased out due to automation – cashiers, for example – while others will be created. If you’ve been grocery shopping lately, you’ve probably seen a lot of their employees filling baskets for customers.

  • According to Zip Recruiter, the average annual salary for all retail workers is $23,601. Of course, that includes every retail worker. If you’re considering this as a career path you won’t stop at the entry-level positions.
  • According to, the average retail manager’s base salary is $49,719. However, that does not include other perks like bonuses, profit sharing, and commission. In the Zip Recruiter survey, a Director of Food Service could earn more than $76,000 annually while a “Work From Home Food Service” position makes over $60,000 per year.

If you want to get a better idea of some of the better paying opportunities, has put together a nice list:

Every retail operation is different, obviously, so doing your due diligence is a smart move on your part.

Retail might not be the right path for everyone but if it fits your interest level and skill set, it can provide a bright future. In the end, it’s all up to you.


Working Capital, Goodwill mission blog author
This article was written by: Steve Allan

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Goodwill of Greater Washington stores and donation centers transform lives and communities by supporting our free career and employment services for people with disabilities and disadvantages.

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