A retail loss prevention manager's function is to protect company assets and maintain or improve store profitability by developing and implementing security and safety programs for employees and customers. In other words, a loss prevention professional manages "shrink," which is a store's loss of inventory due to theft, error, shoplifting, or fraudulent activity. A loss prevention manager's main areas of focus include actions such as shoplifting, vandalism, counterfeiting, robbery, burglary, and store safety.
Loss Prevention is a growing field within the U.S. retail industry and the largest U.S. retail companies are seeing their loss prevention budget growing year over year. Take note, however, that even though the need for loss prevention is growing, loss prevention management is a specialized retail career path. As such, it is generally not an ordinary rung on the retail corporate ladder that is accessible to any entry level retail employee.
Loss Prevention Manager Duties & Responsibilities
The internal focus of Loss Prevention Managers includes cash handling theft, inventory control, facilities and equipment damage, security access violations, fraud, and a variety of audits of employee activities. The loss prevention manager has several duties and tasks to perform daily as part of the job, including the following:
- Investigate, log, and resolve alleged and actual theft, violations of policy, and compliance concerns.
- Coordinate and communicate with management and governmental agencies to act appropriately and legally.
- Audit sites to ensure inventory is processed, handled, and monitored appropriately, and document any errors or failures.
- Develop policies and train staff in loss prevention, reduce shrinkage, and use tagging and/or report mechanisms.
- Minimize the financial losses of a retail operation related to theft, vandalism, accident, and injury.
- Develop ways to detect safety issues and security violations and to put programs in place to prevent repeat occurrences.
Effectively implementing and managing loss prevention processes and programs is an essential part of preventing the growing problem of employee and internal theft in some of the largest retail operations.
Loss Prevention Manager Salary
A loss prevention manager's salary varies based on the area of expertise, level of experience, education, certifications, and other factors.
- Median Annual Salary: $50,000 ($24.04 /hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $76,000 ($36.54/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $37,000 ($17.79/hour)
Source: Payscale.com, 2019
The size and sales volume of the retail operation is an additional factor used in determining the compensation. Loss prevention managers generally receive full benefits packages, which often include merchandise discounts.
Education, Training & Certification
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is preferred, although other 4-year degrees or no degree at all may be acceptable with demonstrated success in other retail security positions.
- Education: Although not required by all employers, many prefer a four-year degree in business or criminal justice.
- Experience: Most employers prefer that candidates have at least three to five years of loss-prevention experience in a retail setting to qualify for a management-level position. Additionally, while not always required, it's helpful to also have experience conducting legal or ethical investigations for loss prevention manager positions.
- Certificate: To become more competitive in the job market, Individuals can obtain a loss prevention certificate from certain colleges, such as Mississippi College, which has a 21-hour certification program.
Loss Prevention Manager Skills & Competencies
In addition to the duties performed by a loss prevention manager, the following skills will help them succeed in their role:
- Communication: The loss prevention manager is expected to communicate efficiently to be able to effectively conduct reviews with management, police, and employees.
- Work well with others: They also must be a team player, able to work with different personality types, assertive, able to work with discretion, and professional.
- Analytical, detailed, and confidential: They must also maintain confidentiality, have great attention to detail, and have excellent analytical skills.
- Computer skills: Computer and word processing proficiency is also required.
Retail sales or operations experience is helpful but is not always required. Attention to detail, acute observation, and analytical skills are essential. A loss prevention manager should have demonstrated success in a position of authority. Experience conducting legal or ethical investigations is desirable and sometimes required.
According to the 2018 annual National Retail Security Survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the need for loss prevention in the U.S. retail industry is substantial already and getting more significant every year.
Among retailers surveyed, more than 30% saw increasing budgets and overall staffing. The retailers surveyed said they needed at least eight additional loss-prevention staff members to keep up with the loss-prevention duties.
Loss prevention managers typically work in retail stores and may experience some travel between stores.
The work schedule of a loss prevention manager is usually an eight-hour per day, full-time job. Longer hours may be required if theft or some other illicit activity has been discovered and needs immediate investigation.
How to Get the Job
Look for retail loss prevention jobs at an associate level to gain the required three to five years of experience typically required to be considered for a loss prevention manager position.
You can visit the National Retail Federation's loss prevention online resources to find industry events to attend and use to gain exposure to others in the field.
Look at job-search resources like Indeed.com, Monster.com, and Glassdoor.com for available loss prevention manager positions. Also, check for job postings on the websites of loss prevention industry groups such as the Loss Prevention Foundation.
Comparing Similar Jobs
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Source: Payscale.com, 2019