In an open letter to retail company executives, Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, asserted that retail "is the best profession out there." He added, "It's the most exciting, the most creative ... products, merchandising, marketing, logistics, technology, vendor partnerships and of course the people."
Mr. Tindell's note encouraged retailers to partner with the NRF Foundation to help position retail as an appealing career opportunity for students and other job seekers.
"I personally can't think of another way I'd rather be spending my career than nurturing a retail business and building mutually-beneficial relationships with everyone who we come into contact with," he wrote. "There is absolutely no reason that the best and brightest students coming out of school shouldn't consider retail as their career."
Mr. Tindell particularly encouraged retailers to become a Careers Employer Partner of the NRF Foundation. For a one-time fee of $5,000, retailers gain access to "talented, budding professionals" exploring retail as a career, as well as a spot on the group's online forum where blogs and other postings can help a retailer attract candidates.
Mr. Tindell's proclamation comes as several articles have appeared questioning career prospects for younger workers, particularly given the challenges recent graduates have had finding jobs.
The value of a college degree is also being increasingly questioned as costs rise. Peter Thiel, a libertarian venture capitalist who co-founded PayPal, established a fellowship this year that offered 20 teenagers $100,000 each if they dropped out of college and pursued entrepreneurship instead.
In an Op-Ed piece last week for The New York Times exploring job stimulus efforts, columnist Thomas Friedman asserted that younger workers will have to act more like entrepreneurs in forming their careers.
Reviewing The Start-Up of You by Reid Garrett Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn and an early investor in Facebook, Mr. Friedman wrote that one challenge for younger graduates is that many of Silicon Valley's new breed of stars (Facebook, Groupon, Zynga, Twitter, etc.) "just don't employ a lot of people, relative to their valuations." He also pointed out how corporations are using automation, software and outsourcing to reduce, head count, health care and pension liabilities.
But Mr. Friedman particularly stressed how globalization and hyper-technological innovation is forcing people to continually reinvent their careers.
"The old paradigm of climb up a stable career ladder is dead and gone," the author, Mr. Hoffman, told him. "No career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it's now like for all of us fashioning a career."
Would you advise your daughter or son to pursue a career at retail?