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That was not in the job description.

Updated: Feb 17

Okay, it did say Excel skills were desirable but really...

Technology has revolutionised the way we communicate, both at work and at home. As we have adjusted to working and living with quantum computers we have not yet worked any less intensively. In this series we take a look at some jobs that have really evolved with advances in technology.

Will 'Excel skills are desirable' even feature on job adverts with the emergence of ChatGPT and other AIs

The Category Manager

The Head of Sales

The E-commerce Merchandiser

The Office Administrator

The Supply Planner


category manager

[product expert and relationship builder]

person tasked with long-term strategic support to manage a group of products profitably

Picture the scene

Needs great supply planners

Exciting new product launches threaten to cannibalise long-term solid performers

Market forces and fashions impact category overnight

Direct to customer sellers challenge profit margins

Resilience is needed to

Keep up with dynamic market forces

Keep up with automation speeding up logistics

Find time to know the customer

Data skills are crucial to

Create real-time information for all audiences

Understand emerging patterns

Manage exceptions

Influence the design of great systems

head of sales

[growth and profitability tightrope walker]

people person who knows sales delivery requires much great activity and that after sales service is better than marketing  

Picture the scene 

Direct links to all business functions

Responsibility for what makes the business a business – a desirable and profitable product

customers will talk about positively

Resilience is needed to

Head up a team that is rejected more often than accepted

Feel the weight of business performance

Be responsible for best business practice and great culture

Balance the current business needs with future-proofing the business

Data skills are crucial to

Communicate with remote teams and talk business metrics

Evolve the system to support business performance and reduce workload for teams  

Ensure relevant information is accessible

e-commerce merchandiser

[internet shopping expert]

person who lists products in an online shop and finds endless ways to describe their benefits and features    

Picture the scene 

24-7 shopping arena on the World Wide Web

Even with the best planning, competitors can see your activity and might undercut your price

Customer journeys are increasingly complex

Loyalty is experience focused so you must offer great products and a great experience

Resilience is needed to

Bring a profitable range that sells to a competitive market

Have confidence in the range longevity

Create a special brand that sets you apart from the competition

Data skills are crucial to

Understand what’s selling, where and for how much

Know which lines are driving profitability and which are diluting it

Forecast supply

Monitor costs

Know your customer and create customer loyalty

Attribute the customer journey so you can make sense of it

office administrator

[sink or swimmer]

person with wide and varied role far exceeding the job description or person spec

Picture the scene

Day one – in at the deep end

Logs in to many systems and shown that process doc do exist

Given autonomy to sink or swim

Googles a lot for guidance

Resilience is needed to

Shape their day to manage a multitude of scenarios

Be self-sufficient and prioritise tasks

Deal with pressure without assistance

Data skills are crucial to

Prevent drowning in emails

Be methodical and prioritise tasks

Use available systems to streamline business processes

supply planner


person tasked with predicting demand and planning optimum levels of stock

Picture the scene

Increasing range of products being added to fluctuating categories to drive growth

Customers browsing on more channels than ever

Costs rising  

Dynamic pricing 


Resilience is needed to

Predict demand with confidence

Manage expectations

Work with many lead times

Work with many business stakeholders who’ll never appreciate the complexity 


Data skills are crucial to

Attribute customer and stock journeys to understand past and present performance

Apply different sales profiles to different items and optimise buying

Manage a stock file and keep stock turning

Connect with and understand your customers

The data points that exist in the digital economy are vast and continuing to grow. There are a increasing number of people not realising their potential because of weak data skills. Don't let your team drown in data, or sink in systems. ivity provides access to affordable relevant training - check out how we make data training relevant and powerful here.

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