THE OPPORTUNITY EXPLAINED BY ONE FORMER GRADUATE HIRE
As we continue to grow, every year, an average of 800 graduates around the globe join the “UNIQLO Management Candidate” graduate programme, also called UMC. In Europe, we have opportunities in France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Italy.
One of the recent alumni of the UMC programme in Denmark, Park Piao, offered some insights about his first-year of accelerated learning, his career growth thereafter and the company in general. He joined UNIQLO as a UMC in September 2019 and 18 months later, he has achieved his Store Manager licence and is now part of the leadership team of our Danish Store: UNIQLO STRØGET.
What attracted you to the company and its graduate programme?
The biggest factor that motivated my decision to join the company was the connection between what I believe in and what UNIQLO stands for. Indeed, the company strives to grow in harmony with society and make everyone’s life better one piece of clothing at a time. The UMC scheme was a particular fit for me because I was looking for a position where I could be versatile and have a broad variety of career opportunities. I believe that the UMC scheme was the right springboard to help me fulfil my future ambitions.
What does a typical day look like as a member of UNIQLO’s graduate scheme?
Each day starts with an energetic team-talk with all store members. It is the opportunity to discuss business performance and opportunities, focus areas for the day and of course new ideas on how to make customers happy! I also had daily time allocated to learn and practice something new with my trainer. Everything I have learned comes from trials and errors: trying to handle new responsibilities, receiving feedback and gradually mastering one new skill at a time. This hands-on approach of learning has been the best way for me to deeply understand our business: customers, colleagues and sustainable growth. Becoming a well-rounded leader requires to practice many skills over and over again; starting from customer service to shop floor management, sales and stock planning, staff development, P&L optimisation…
What has been the biggest challenge as a graduate?
It is a challenging programme, for sure. At the beginning, I felt excited but also somewhat overwhelmed with a lot of new information, new people and new responsibilities. UNIQLO is an incredibly fast-paced business. The CEO, COO, General Manager have high expectations because they have, for some of them, graduated from the same programme themselves. They know that they should both stretch you and support you. Everyone in the team is always willing to help anytime, anywhere. If you are determined to work hard, you can make it! The outcome is so rewarding: I have started to acquire in-depth business leadership knowledge and experience which are fundamental to further grow my career in the future.
Where do you see your career going in the future?
My short-term goal is to become country manager for UNIQLO Denmark & Southern Sweden, driving the expansion in these markets. My dream is to make UNIQLO become the most beloved brand in Scandinavia. As for my long-term professional goal, I have decided to remain open to all of the many different career possibilities that UNIQLO offers. Let me work hard, achieve results and see where the future takes me!
STRUCTURE OF THE UMC PROGRAMME
Month 1 to 4: Customer Advisor
You will work as a Customer Advisor in the store to master the UNIQLO shop-floor standards and processes which includes RFID checkout, omni-channel services, customer service, fitting rooms, deliveries, replenishment and more! We believe that to be an effective leader, you must be a role model in these little yet important tasks to create a unique customer experience while gaining the trust of your team. Alongside the on-the-job training, you will discuss with your COO your career aspirations, learn from successful leaders who started as a UMC, and participate to people management workshops.
Month 5 to 6: Supervisor
Now that you are a UNIQLO shop floor master, you are ready for some managerial responsibilities! You will be expected to create and adapt the daily work schedule of your store team, provide training and feedback to achieve sales and customer satisfaction. You will start your operations management training and become responsible for inventory ordering and performance of a specific product category. In addition, you will work on a mind stretching business project with a mentor, meet the leaders of our different departments...
Month 7 to 12: Assistant Manager
Your new responsibilities are to assist the Store Manager with all operational aspects of the store to maximise business performance: strategically create shop floor layouts, adapt weekly rotas based on sales target, construct training plans to enhance efficiency and talent bench strength, daily audit of the store presentation and take actions to achieve the highest level of standards. Take a field trip to gain exposure to the practices of a store management team outside of your country and apply your learnings in your own store.
Upon completing the programme, your capabilities and knowledge will be evaluated to decide if you need more time to hone your skills or if you are ready to be the next in line to manage your own multi-million revenue-making store. In Europe, many of our former UMCs have leveraged their extensive experience as Store Managers to take on further leadership responsibilities in store operations, sustainability, in-store marketing, omni-channel, HR and more.
What are the requirements?
- You have the right to work on a full-time permanent basis in the country you've applied for. We do not sponsor work visa
- You are available to start working full time from either end of February or end of August
- You speak the local language, at B2 level as a minimum, if applying in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Netherlands. You speak any Scandinavian language if applying for Sweden and Denmark
- You hold or are about to obtain a bachelor or master
- You are flexible to work at weekends and across various shifts
- You must be able to move to different cities across the country you have applied for
- STEP 1Online Application
- STEP 2Online Individual Assessments
- STEP 3Group Assessment
- STEP 4First Interview
- STEP 5Store Visit + Final Interview
- Offer of Employment
Parts of our recruitment process are conducted online. You will need access to a computer with a webcam and stable Wi-Fi network.
MEET SOME OF OUR FORMER UMCS!
UMC 2010: Leon
Current: EU Digital Operations Manager
UMC 2012: Alessandro
Currect: COO Italy
UMC 2013: Laure
Current: EU Omni-Channel & CRM Manager
UMC 2014: Nikolina
Current: COO Scandinavia
UMC 2015: Alena
Current: Marketing Specialist
UMC 2018: Ganna
Current: Store Manager