What is the Right Career Option: Merchandising or Production (Industrial Engineering)?
MWhat is the Right Career Option: Merchandising or Production (Industrial Engineering)?
Did anybody ask you this question before?
I have been asked this question many times by my juniors and by OCS readers. I thought it would be a great discussion if you share your thought on 'what to choose as career option- apparel merchandising or Garment production?'.
I am happy to share that when I was studying in a fashion institute, I also asked this question to my seniors and to our faculties.
I would not write too much today. Just I will share one of my responses that I wrote to one of my fans. I would like to hear from you and share your views with newcomers to help them choosing right career option.
Question: "Actually I am a student of garment technology and I am very much confused to select the area of job from Merchandising & Industrial Engineering (IE). Please suggest me which one is the best option from Merchandising and IE"
My reply was:
To me both are the best. If you ask me to answer in one line my answer for you is - being a garment technology student you should choose Industrial Engineering as your career. Reason, you have gained in-depth knowledge on production areas rather than merchandising.
Though a course does not matter much when you have your dream job in your mind. If your dream is to become a merchandiser then you can work in merchandising.
I would say, selecting 'the best option' totally depends on you. What do you want to be? What are your key skills that are required in career growth in the apparel industry. Following are the important Key skills one need to be considered.
- Negotiation skill
- Logical thinking
- Communication skill
- Convincing power
- Managerial skill
- Team leading skill
- Communication skill both in written and verbal
If one does not have some of the above skills can be learned.
Here I would just show you the real facts of these two job profiles according to my point of views. You have to choose one out of two based on your interest and competency. In a moment I will share 4 key points that you need to look into before you select your career option.
#1 Job challenges and work profile:
When I look into these two profiles from business point of view, merchandising job is more challenging compared to an IE.
Being an IE you need to interact with people within your company (factory). You will have a small team. Most of time interact with production team. You will be involved in improving factory performance, reducing labor cost continuously, setting internal systems etc.
On the other hand being a merchandiser, you have to deal with buyers, buying office, testing labs, production team, sampling, sourcing, subcontracting jobs and many uncertain jobs for the business. To be an expert you have to acquire knowledge of wider fields.
For those who are interested in core production: When it comes for core production you need to work under lot of work pressure and have to manage a big team. Longer working working hours in a day.
If you have not already read please check job responsibilities of an export house merchant and industrial engineers.
#2. Future growth:
In merchandising you will have wider range of job opportunities. Like - export houses, buying houses, buyers, retailing etc. This is considered as more sophisticated job profile (when you are in higher rank) than an IE.
For an IE the job profile is limited to garment production. But Industrial Engineering is one of the growing field in garment industry. IE are in demand now. Overseas job opportunities are also there for IEs.
Also read: Career opportunities in the Apparel Industry
#3. Job satisfaction:
Job satisfaction are there in both kind of works. Individual job satisfaction again depends on various factors. Like, who is your boss, your expectation from the company, work culture in the company and HR policies, yearly growth etc.
If you work in production you have to work longer hours in a day.
#4. Pay packages:
As a fresher you will get similar pay package in both job profiles. In long term, if you can grab a good position in a company you can pocket good salary in both jobs.
In garment factories there is no performance incentives for merchandisers as well as IEs. Merchandisers who work in buying offices or as a buyers may get good incentives by achieving target. (But this is not true for all).
So, what do you want to be? It is up to you to select right path for your career. I missed to share that I was a Fashion Technology (Garment Technology) student. I selected garment production field as my career option. And till date I am mostly involved in garment production (Industrial Engineering).
This is what I had to say to all those are struggling to choose one out of these two job opportunities and newcomers who is still thinking to change his/her job and want to shift to other.
Now it is your turn to add some valuable notes for future professionals of the garment industry.