Deputy Department Manager
John Lewis

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 Lisa E

00:00:03 I’m Lisa E. I’m currently the Deputy Department Manager at John Lewis Brent Cross. My job involves managing people, primarily: all the partners who work on the shop floor, my section managers that run each section within the department. I also get to meet customers. Working at Christmas is a real buzz in the shop. It really gives me an adrenaline rush and I really love it. I always like to help others develop. I have two trainee SMs (section managers) that I’m working with. To see them progress is really rewarding.

00:00:38 No, I wasn’t always intending on working in retail. I had had a Saturday job that involved serving customers. I worked in a bakery and then I worked at the student union bar, and I enjoyed working alongside people, so that gave me a sort of idea of what I might have wanted to do, but I certainly wasn’t definite that it was going to be retail.

00:00:56 When I was younger, I thoroughly enjoyed sport. PE was my favourite subject. I was only until I did A levels that I thought ‘Oh, I’d like to have an interest in law,’ and I took the subject at A level, and it was my best grade, and it was something that I enjoyed the most, so that was… that kind of made me know what I wanted to do in the future.

00:01:16 At university, obviously, you live in halls with lots of strangers to begin with, so then you’ve got to meet lots of new people, and obviously when you’re in a lecture, it’s very much independent learning. Once you’ve had the lecture, you have to then go and study. There was a crunch point when I knew that law wasn’t right for me, and that’s mainly when I had the experience of having done my mini pupilage. I then had a look at what was on offer, and I’d heard about graduate jobs, and I went to my careers advisor and she advised me on what jobs were out there. I got the top one hundred graduate employer’s book, and within that was John Lewis, and I knew that with a graduate job they train you on the job. You also start on a good salary and you’re fast tracked throughout the company. I know that John Lewis has plenty of opportunities within the business for me to move around in the future, and that was the thing that made it definite for me.

00:02:12 I can’t say that I’ve really had any obstacles. I think I’ve been really lucky. Whilst I was at uni, I was always really keen on looking to the future, what was out there, how did I have to achieve it. So then in my final year, in January, I had already got my offer at John Lewis, so all I knew I had to do was just get good grades, finish uni, enjoy my summer and then start at John Lewis in September.

00:02:40 My mum allows me to pick what I want to pick. It has always been my decision, providing that I’ve given it my best shot. That’s all that has mattered to them. I guess I’ve mainly been influenced by my peers. My friends are highly intelligent, and we’re all high achievers and want to do well in life, and that has given me the motivation to be able to keep up with them. I’ve proved to everyone that I am very capable.

00:03:07 In five year’s time, by that time I will have had my department managership. The next step on from that is going into the steering group within the branch. The steering group comprises of certain operations managers that are responsible for different elements within the store. I’m motivated to work in my job mainly because I do get a decent salary, which means stability. John Lewis is a well known company, and the ethos of the business is something that really appeals to me and also I just really enjoy it. I enjoy getting up in the morning, going to work, chatting to all my partners and just making the most of my day.

00:03:47 End

Lisa E is currently a Deputy Department Manager at John Lewis. She wasn’t enjoying her degree in law, so she looked around for other options. John Lewis appealed because of its graduate training scheme. “They train you on the job. You also start on a good salary and you’re fast tracked throughout the company.”

More information about Managers and directors in retail and wholesale

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

59%  male 
41%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Retail and wholesale managers and directors plan, organise, direct and co-ordinate the operations of major retail and wholesale establishments in order to maximise business performance and meet financial goals.
Entry requirements vary from company to company. Entrants may possess GCSEs/S grades, A levels/H grades, GNVQs/GSVQs, a BTEC/SQA award, a degree or equivalent qualification. Entry is also possible through promotion after gaining sufficient experience. NVQs/SVQs in Retail Operations are available at Level 4.
  • Appoints staff, assigns tasks and monitors and reviews staff performance;
  • Liaises with other staff to provide information about merchandise, special promotions etc. to customers;
  • Ensures that adequate reserves of merchandise are held and that stock keeping is carried out efficiently;
  • Ensures customer complaints and queries regarding sales and service are appropriately handled;
  • Oversees the maintenance of financial and other records and controls security arrangements for the premises;
  • Authorises payment for supplies received and decides on vending price, discount rates and credit terms;
  • Examines quality of merchandise and ensures that effective use is made of advertising and display facilities.
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Employment status

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