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Occupational Profile

Retail Salesperson

Retail salespersons sell or rent goods and services to customers in stores and other retail businesses.

  • Avg. Salary $24,976.00
  • Avg. Wage $16.09
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 59,800
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Customer Service Representative, Product Demonstrator, Sales Clerk, Salesperson, Store Clerk

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

74%
74%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Retail Salesperson is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks
NOC code: 6421
METHODICAL

Interest in computing to maintain sales records for inventory control; and in operating computerised inventory record keeping and re-ordering systems

SOCIAL

Interest in persuading to sell and rent merchandise to customers

directive

Interest in handling to prepare merchandise for purchase, rental and leasing, and to assist in the display of merchandise

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Retail salespersons work in many different types of retail establishments assisting customers with the selection and purchase of merchandise. In specialty stores, they sell or rent merchandise ranging from books, food and clothing to major appliances, stereos and automobiles. In large department stores, they usually work in specific departments. In smaller owner managed stores, salespersons are responsible for serving customers in all areas of the store. Their primary responsibilities are to:

  • be familiar with the products in their store
  • sell merchandise
  • ensure customer satisfaction.

Duties and responsibilities vary depending on the types of merchandise they sell but, in general, salespersons:

  • greet customers and help them identify their needs (for example, size of shoe they need)
  • demonstrate, fit or measure merchandise for customers
  • promote products such as credit card services
  • advise customers on the use and care of merchandise
  • answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise
  • process payments (cash, cheques, direct debit and credit cards) and provide sales receipts
  • assist customers with returns and exchanges of merchandise
  • wrap customer purchases or arrange for delivery
  • estimate or quote prices, credit terms, trade-in allowances and warranties
  • check and order stock
  • stock shelves and maintain display areas.

Salespersons must be aware of the store's current sales promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices. They may be required to develop new markets by soliciting new business when they are not busy serving customers.

Salespersons often are solely responsible for the contents of the cash register and, at the end of their shift, may:

  • count money in the cash register
  • separate charge slips, coupons and exchange vouchers
  • make deposits at a cash office or financial institution.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Salespersons usually work indoors in pleasant surroundings, often in shopping malls. They must stand or walk for long periods of time and routinely may be required to lift items weighing up to 10 kilograms. Having to meet sales targets, sometimes sales per hour targets, can be stressful. 

Many salespersons work part time shifts. Evening, weekend and holiday work is common. Some salespersons are required to wear uniforms and most wear identification pins.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Retail salespersons need the following characteristics:

  • a neat, well groomed appearance
  • the ability to calculate prices quickly and accurately
  • an awareness of current fashion trends and customer tastes
  • the ability to remain courteous, patient and tactful when dealing with difficult customers
  • the ability to work under pressure.

They should enjoy having clear rules and organized methods for their work, persuading people to buy or rent merchandise, and handling merchandise.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

There are no standard education requirements for retail salespersons but most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. Those who have post-secondary education have a greater opportunity for advancement to supervisory and management positions, particularly if they are located near the head offices of larger firms.

Salespersons who sell expensive or complex merchandise may require special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell computer systems need a basic knowledge of electronics and computer software and hardware to be able to answer customer questions.

Small shops train staff on the job; larger stores may have their own in-house training programs.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Many salespersons are employed on a part time basis.

Advancement is based on experience and job performance. Experienced salespersons may move to busier stores, supervisory or management positions, or support departments such as staff training or customer relations. With additional education and training, they may move into related occupations such as purchaser, human resources officer, real estate agent or insurance agent.

There are more opportunities for advancement in large department stores or in retail chains or multi-store operations. Those in smaller stores may have to change employers to find jobs with broader responsibilities.

Retail salespersons are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6421: Retail salespersons and sales clerks. In Alberta, 83% of people employed in this classification work in the Retail Trade industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Retail Trade industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 59,200 Albertans are employed in the Retail salespersons and sales clerks occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.9% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 1,125 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As retail salespersons form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for retail salespersons.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Wages vary greatly depending on the size and nature of the store and the salesperson's experience. Many retail salespersons start at or just above minimum wage. (As of October 1, 2016, the minimum wage in Alberta is $12.20 per hour for most jobs. For more information, see Alberta Employment Standards.) Some earn bonuses or commissions based on sales in addition to a base salary and some work on straight commission. They may receive employee discounts on merchandise.

Retail salespersons
NOC code: 6421

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $10.20 $19.00 $12.29 $11.25
Overall $11.43 $30.99 $16.09 $13.75
Top $13.42 $44.90 $23.07 $17.51

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Construction
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Wholesale Trade
Manufacturing
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Accommodation & Food Services
Retail Trade
Agriculture
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

74%
74%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

44%
44%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

12%
12%

2015 Vacancy Rate

1%
Related High School Subjects
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Retail Council of Canada website: www.retailcouncil.org

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 25, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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