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Retail Salesperson

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

Also Known As

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

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks (6421) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks (G211) 
  • 2011 NOC: Retail salespersons (6421) 
  • 2016 NOC: Retail salespersons (6421) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks

2006 NOC: 6421

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Retail salespersons work in many different types of retail establishments. They help customers select and buy merchandise. In specialty stores, they might sell or rent merchandise. This can range from books, food, and clothing to major appliances, stereos, and automobiles. In large department stores, they most often work in specific departments. In smaller, owner-managed stores, they may serve customers in all areas of the store. Their primary tasks are to:

  • Become and stay familiar with the products in their store, and similar products at other businesses
  • Sell merchandise
  • Ensure customers are satisfied

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

  • Greet customers and help them identify their needs, such as shoe size
  • Demonstrate, fit, or measure merchandise for customers
  • Promote products or services, such as credit cards
  • Encourage customers to buy preselected products on the sales floor or at the till
  • Advise customers on the use and care of merchandise
  • Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise
  • Process payments (cash, cheques, debit cards, and credit cards) and provide receipts
  • Help customers return or exchange 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
  • In smaller shops, open and close the store
  • Answer incoming phone calls

Some salespersons need to help with the general cleaning and tidying of the store (such as vacuuming, sweeping and washing floors, taking out garbage)

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

Salespersons often are solely responsible for the contents of the cash register. At the end of their shift, they 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 Mar 31, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Salespersons usually work indoors, often in shopping malls. They must stand or walk for long periods of time. They may routinely need to lift some heavier items. Having to meet sales targets, such as sales per hour, can cause stress.

Many salespersons work part-time shifts but may work full-time shifts. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common. Some salespersons need to wear uniforms. Most wear identification pins.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Retail salespersons need:

  • A neat, well-groomed appearance
  • An aptitude for math to calculate prices quickly and accurately
  • Courtesy, patience, and tact when dealing with difficult customers
  • The ability to work under pressure

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Retail salespersons

2016 NOC: 6421

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 18, 2022 and Nov 26, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Greet customers and discuss type, quality and quantity of merchandise or services sought for purchase, rental or lease
Tasks: Provide advice about merchandise
Tasks: Assist in display of merchandise
Tasks: Operate cash register
Tasks: Maintain sales records for inventory control
Tasks: Operate computerized inventory record keeping and re-ordering systems
Tasks: Conduct sales transactions through Internet-based electronic commerce
Tasks: Prepare merchandise for purchase, rental or lease
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Construction Specialization: Team player
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Minimum Education Varies

There are no standard education requirements for retail salespersons. Most employers prefer high school graduates. Those with post-secondary education have greater opportunities for advancement to supervisory and management positions. This is especially true if they are located near the head offices of larger firms.

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

Small shops train staff on the job. Larger stores may have their own in-house training programs. Most stores now require first aid training.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Red Deer Polytechnic
Reeves College - Calgary City Centre
Reeves College - Calgary North
Reeves College - Edmonton
Reeves College - Lethbridge
Reeves College - Lloydminster

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Many salespersons work part time, but full-time positions may be available. Some employers may require a criminal record check.

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

Large department stores, retail chains, or multistore operations tend to offer more opportunities for advancement. Those in smaller stores may have to change employers to find jobs with broader responsibilities.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 6421: Retail salespersons occupational group, 83.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 6421: Retail salespersons occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 913 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2022

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 June 26, 2019, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour for most workers. For more information, see Minimum Wage.

Some earn bonuses or commissions based on sales in addition to a base salary. Others work on straight commission. They may receive employee discounts on merchandise.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Retail salespersons

2016 NOC: 6421
Average Wage
$20.14
Per Hour
Average Salary
$31,434.00
Per Year
Average Hours
29.1
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.6
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 6421 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $23.00 $16.58 $15.00
Overall $15.00 $36.36 $20.14 $17.00
Top $15.75 $76.60 $29.29 $22.50

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
62%
62%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
27%
27%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
8%
8%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Retail Council of Canada website: www.retailcouncil.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. 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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