Retail Sales workers help customers find products they want and process customers’ payments. There are two types of retail sales workers: retail salespersons, who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles; and parts salespersons, who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts.

For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.

In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts, which may include notifying security guards or calling police.

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Retail Sales workers help customers find products they want and process customers’ payments. There are two types of retail sales workers: retail salespersons, who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles; and parts salespersons, who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts.

For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.

In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts, which may include notifying security guards or calling police.

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Job Prospects


Turnover is high among retail salespersons, which means there will be a large number of job openings. This, combined with the large size of this occupation, should result in good job prospects for qualified workers.

Employment projections data for retail sales workers, 2016-26


Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric
Retail Sales Workers -- 4,854,300 4,946,700 2 92,400 --

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Employment projections data for retail sales workers, 2016-26


Occupational Title
Retail Sales Workers
SOC Code
--
Employment, 2016
4,854,300
Projected Employment, 2026
4,946,700
CHANGE, 2016-26
PERCENT
2
NUMERIC
92,400
EMPLOYMENT BY INDUSTRY
--

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Pay


The median hourly wage for parts salespersons was $14.13 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.23, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.16.

The median hourly wage for retail salespersons was $11.16 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.61, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.85.

In May 2017, the median hourly wages for parts salespersons in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:


Wholesale Trade $17.48
Repair and Maintenance $16.93
Automobile Dealers $16.56
Other Motor Vehicle Dealers $14.17
Automotive Parts, Accessories, and Tire Stores $11.78

Many retail sales workers work evenings and weekends, particularly during holidays and other peak sales periods. Because the end-of-year holiday season is often the busiest time for retail stores, many employers limit sales workers’ use of vacation time between November and the beginning of January.

Retail Sales Workers


Median annual wages, May 2017


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Job Outlook


Overall employment of retail sales workers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations.

Employment of retail salespersons is projected to grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. The employment of retail salespersons has traditionally tracked the health of the overall economy.

The increase in online sales is expected to continue over the next decade, limiting the growth of the number of physical retail stores and moderating the demand for retail sales workers. Online sales also are projected to affect specific segments of the retail industry to varying extents. For instance, book and media stores are likely to see the most severe declines due to online competition. However, other retail segments, such as automobile dealers and clothing stores, have experienced much less of an impact.

Although online sales are expected to continue to increase, “brick and mortar” retail stores are also expected to increase their emphasis on customer service as a way to compete with online sellers. In addition, cost pressure may drive retailers to ask their in-store staff to do more. This means they may want workers who can perform a broad range of job duties that include helping customers find items, operating a cash register, and restocking shelves. Because retail sales workers have this versatile range of functions, their usage should also increase. Therefore, traditional retail stores should hire more sales workers to provide this service. In general, although consumers are increasing their online retail shopping, they will continue to do the majority of their retail shopping in stores. Retail salespersons will be needed in stores to help customers and complete sales.

Therefore, although the growth of online shopping will likely constrain overall employment growth, job opportunities for retail sales workers within physical stores should continue to increase.

Employment of parts salespersons is projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. People are keeping their cars longer and are buying new cars less often. Older cars need to be serviced more frequently, creating demand for car parts and parts salespersons. However, growth may be slowed by competition from online parts retailers.

Retail Sales Workers


Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Run Your First Background Check for Retail Workers




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Professional Recruiter and Staffing Organizations


  • National Association of Personnel Services
  • Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals
  • American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment
  • National Association of Executive Recruiters
  • National Association for Health Care Recruitment
  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association
  • American Staffing Association
  • Top Echelon Recruiting Network

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