Retail salespersons sell or rent goods and services to customers in stores and other retail businesses.
Customer Service Representative, Product Demonstrator, Sales Clerk, Salesperson, Store Clerk
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:
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
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.
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:
Duties and responsibilities vary depending on the types of merchandise they sell. In general, salespersons:
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:
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.
Retail salespersons need:
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.
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.
The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.
For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.
Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.
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.
The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
In Alberta, the G211: Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.9% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 1125 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.
Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.
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.
|Wages*||Low (5th percentile)||High (95th percentile)||Average||Median|
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* 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.
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.
|Professional, Scientific & Technical Services||$66,890|
|Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing||$41,868|
|Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)||$36,783|
|Transportation and Warehousing||$27,078|
|Accommodation & Food Services||$20,680|
|Health Care & Social Assistance||$19,758|
|Information, Culture, Recreation||$14,801|
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.