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Retail Salesperson

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

  • Avg. Salary $30,255.00
  • Avg. Wage $19.68
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 62,400
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Retail Salesperson is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks

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


Interest in persuading to sell and rent merchandise to customers


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

Updated Mar 31, 2019

Retail salespersons work in many different types of retail establishments. They help customers select and purchase merchandise. In specialty stores, they sell or rent merchandise. This can range 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 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 pre-selected 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 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
  • Open and close the store in smaller shops

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

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, 2019

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

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Retail salespersons
NOC code: 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 Dec 06, 2021 and Jan 22, 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.
Greet customers and discuss type, quality and quantity of merchandise or services sought for purchase, rental or lease
Provide advice about merchandise
Operate cash register
Maintain sales records for inventory control
Personal Suitability: Team player
Assist in display of merchandise
Prepare sales, rental or leasing contracts and accept cash, cheque, credit card or automatic debit payment
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Operate computerized inventory record keeping and re-ordering systems
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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 require 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 College

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary North

Reeves College - Edmonton

Reeves College - Lethbridge

Reeves College - Lloydminster

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Many salespersons work part time.

Advancement is based on experience and job performance. Experienced salespersons may move to busier stores. They may advance to supervisory or management positions, or move to 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, retail chains, or multistore 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 (PDF) industry.

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.

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 913 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.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Jun 26, 2019

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. 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.

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

Retail salespersons

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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $24.04 $16.52 $15.00
Overall $15.00 $37.50 $19.68 $16.25
Top $15.00 $65.38 $26.62 $18.84

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.

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.

Industry Information
Wholesale Trade
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Retail Trade
Transportation and Warehousing
Educational Services
Accommodation & Food Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Retail Council of Canada website:

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

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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