Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path? : Latest Guide
You will find all sorts of job adverts for consumer services. There is never a shortage of companies hiring. But, is consumer services a good career path for you? Do you know what it takes to excel in this field? How much do workers typically earn? Let’s find out more here.
Table of Contents
What Are Consumer Services?
Consumer services is a commercial sector that includes all direct services provided to consumers. Consumer services covers a huge range of jobs, some of which include:
- Restaurant delivery
- Telephone support
- Customer service
- Flight Attendant
- And many more
As the world gets richer, the demand for consumer services has been evergrowing. Joining the service sector makes sense due to a number of factors. It is an excellent career path for those venturing out and exploring.
Every product you consume on the market goes through a series of meticulous stages. Consumer services will penetrate every part, creating a sizeable amount of jobs. Job seekers are guaranteed to find something they are good at within this sector.
Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path?
There will always be a need for consumer services, regardless of the economic environment. Stepping into the field is easy. You don’t need previous experience or relevant education history to pick up a job in this sector. Therefore, consumer services are popular among fresh graduates.
In general, if you don’t wish to pursue further studies and want to get ahead in your career as early as possible, consumer services is the easiest sector to join. You learn by doing and accumulate experience from different jobs.
You acquire communication and interpersonal skills for other opportunities. It is a great way to train yourself. Besides, consumer services are forever green. You deal with new people every day, which is refreshing for some people. A stable office job is not for everyone. Some people thrive in delivering the best service to customers.
On the other hand, building up your career path in this sector is challenging. Typically, there is a cap on promotion for servers. The salary remains stagnant over the years. You don’t get promotion opportunities unless you switch over to management, which can be difficult for someone who has spent years in the service sector.
A stale career path is a big downside in the industry. Many ambitious newcomers aim to build up experience with consumer services before heading off to another sector. It is the cradle of entrepreneurship as well.
Pros of Working in Consumer Services
1. You Don’t Need a Degree or Relevant Educational Background
The consumer service industry is welcoming. It opens its door to anyone that wishes to deliver the best shopping experience to customers. You don’t need a degree to enter this field unless you are applying to more senior roles or management positions.
Consumer services are the prime example of “learn by doing.” Everyone started by working as a service provider and climbing up the ladder. You don’t need any prior experience to land a job. You are more competitive than a university graduate with enough experience.
2. There Is Always a High Demand
Even during the most challenging times, people still shop. The pandemic has proven how people are willing to pay for services even when they are not well-off. There is always a high demand for workers.
Consumer service workers benefit the most when the economy is rapidly expanding. Companies are willing to up their budget during these times. The salary of consumer service workers correlates to economic trends.
3. Job Skills Are Easily Transferable
For example, restaurant servers can easily jump among Japanese restaurants, Italian restaurants, and American fast-food chains. With minimal training, they can even take up over-the-phone customer service, resort management, and retail jobs.
Since most consumer service positions do not require a degree, their skills are applicable in various settings. Once a worker enters the field, they can stay competitive. The skills you acquire can be beneficial to your future endeavors. Many famous entrepreneurs started in this sector before moving on to starting their own businesses.
4. Most Companies Don’t Put a Cap on Commissions
It is no secret that consumer service workers get paid on commissions way more than their stable base salary. The commissions are usually calculated as a portion of the total profit the company generates in a month. In some occupations, workers may get to keep their personal tips without having to submit them to the company.
Some companies do put a cap on commissions, but most choose not to. Workers can theoretically earn an unlimited salary. When the economy is taking off, workers often receive generous tips from customers.
5. It Is an Exciting Field
If you are people-oriented, you will adore working in the consumer service field. There are new challenges to take on every day. The satisfaction is much greater than any office job can offer if you love working with people.
Working in consumer service gives you a lot of exposure to meet thousands of people, some of which can advance your careers. If you have never been good at sitting in the same place for hours and hours, working with people is a good change.
6. It Is Easier to Make Connections
The best thing about consumer services is the people. You get to meet new people at every turn. Whether it is an industry seminar or a regular workday, you will encounter mentors everywhere.
Making connections in this field is easy. And the people you meet are often not restricted to this sector. You will meet people from all walks of life, possibly helping you with your transition into other jobs.
Cons of Working in Consumer Services
1. Unstable Salary
Commissions are oftentimes fantasies for people that will never make enough to pay bills. It sounds wonderful to get paid more when the business is thriving but it takes away wage stability for workers. If the company suffers from a loss in certain months, workers may not get any commission at all.
Having unstable income strips away a lot of things from workers. They may not get a mortgage as easily, be able to pay off debt or save up. Salary fluctuations are especially high for seasonal workers. Workers may experience a full schedule for some months while going out of work for others. The uncertainty makes planning ahead difficult.
2. The Base Salary Is Low
Workers in the consumer service field are not subjected to minimum wage protection if they earn commissions. The base salary is notoriously low in this field. Workers have to earn every penny in sweat and tears sometimes.
To skim off commission payments, companies set unattainable targets to restrict potential income. A lot of workers are underpaid since the pay rise is not substantial in this industry. Workers with over a decade of experience difference could be paid the same. When the economy is regressing, workers may only live on their base salary.
3. You Work in Shifts
Consumer services are thriving anytime. Places never close because of the dedicated staff behind, which leads to another huge disadvantage for working in this industry. Working in shifts is hardly desirable for an employee, especially those with long hours and overnight.
You will end up missing some important festivals because of work. Besides, working overnight shifts over the years can have long-term health consequences.
Your body may not be as fit and your skin condition may deteriorate. It is usually hard for the human body to constantly adjust its biological clock. Some workers tend to get sick after putting up with it for several years.
4. You Have to Deal With Unreasonable People
Unfortunately, society and companies do not appreciate consumer service workers as much as they should. There are always unpleasant stories from workers about dealing with unreasonable customers. Companies may lack the corresponding protocol for protecting their workers.
As a professional worker, you are obligated to still remain polite and serve the customers unless it escalates to something serious. It can be infuriating to serve certain people.
The frustration can make you feel powerless in money-oriented corporates. While there is an emphasis on workers’ welfare, it is still lacking in plenty of companies to stand for their employees.
5. It Is Difficult to Maintain a Family Life
It is no secret that many people quit the industry because of their children and family. When you work in shifts, through holidays, and overnight, maintaining a healthy family life is not feasible. You will miss all your child’s special events and miss out on the milestones.
Burnouts are real in this sector due to the pressure. Workers have to take in the negativity from disgruntled consumers and pressure from supervisors to deliver the best service. Stress can damage one’s mental health and manifest in other aspects of life.
6. You May Be Relocated
If you work in resorts, bartending, or other positions in a big company, there is a chance of jumping among branches in the country or region. The company usually states the relocation clause clearly in the employment contract. Workers are legally obliged to honor the terms of the contract.
Oftentimes, you may be sent to multiple locations in the same city where the business operates. Workers cannot refuse this term.
For the relocation to another city or state, workers can usually decide whether they want to go or not, although companies may indicate the necessity of some transfers. This provides stress for people who prefer to stay in one location.
How Much Are Consumer Service Workers Paid?
The wage gap among consumer service workers is phenomenal. Almost all consumer service workers are hourly workers. They get paid by the hour plus tips generated during their shift. The hourly rate is somewhere between $14 to $22 per hour, depending on the state and the job. The rate is inclusive of the average commission.
Service workers get paid around 20% of the sales volume as part of their commission. Although the minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour by law, service workers start at a much lower rate as they are not protected under this regulation.
It is not uncommon for workers to start as low as $2 per hour. In some service sectors, they may only get a commission if they make a sale.
The fluctuations in this industry mean it is hard to compare statistics and averages. The salary depends on the job, which may not correlate to experience. Instead, it mostly depends on how well the business is doing.
Consumer services is a great sector to make big bucks without a degree. It also serves as the stepping stone for you to advance your career elsewhere. But, there are disadvantages if you set it as your career goal. Evaluate your situation to make the best judgment for your career.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.