Recruiters are picky about the experience of wholesale merchandisers, so the best receive an attractive wage.
It can be tough to attract wholesale merchandisers, according to Mark Ashton, managing director for brand fashion agent Concept Fashion Agency. He says: "I think merchandising roles at university level are seen as very academic, and students are forever being driven towards the bright lights of design and possibly buying; unaware of the fact that any decent merchandiser is worth more than their weight in gold and potentially earn far more than any buying or design role." A junior wholesale merchandiser outside London will earn on average £21,231 a year, rising to an average of £48,423 for a merchandise manager in London.
Jennifer Green, manager of design, production and technical at Fashion & Retail Personnel, also believes recruiting for such roles can be tough because employers can be a little more fussy and narrow minded. "They don't believe you can make the crossover from working for a supplier to working for a brand or retailer. If I [want to] send over two people to a branded retailer, they won't see the supplier one. It's cut throat," she explains.
When it comes to recruiting for wholesale merchandising staff at premium brand Hugo Boss, the focus is on recruiting from within. Bernd Hake, managing director of Hugo Boss, UK and Ireland, believes the company has developed a reputation of giving internal employees a chance to move up the career ladder. He argues that the benefits of recruiting internally are that employees already know the business. "They are familiar with company culture, understand how the business functions, know the processes involved and have an established relationship to our retail partners, the press, and internal colleagues and to our German head office," he says.
The data we have compiled does tally with the experiences of such brands. Hake adds: "When you add up fixed salary and benefits offered to our employees we are on average in line with your figures." However, the right brands will provide generous benefits. In addition to the salary, wholesale merchandising staff at Hugo Boss are included in the company's global bonus programme, which is based on a combination of individual performance and corporate performance.