Retail Salespersons

(NOC 6421)

in All Sales and Service

Retail salespersons sell, rent, or lease a range of technical and non-technical goods and services directly to consumers. They work for stores and other retail businesses, as well as wholesale businesses that sell on a retail basis to the public. Retail salespersons may specialize and act as consultants in home entertainment systems, computers and other products and services.

Job Outlook

Good

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  • Estimate Decline employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 400 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Sales and Service

  • Estimate -505 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 6125 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

During the spring, many nonessential retail stores closed as consumers were urged to avoid nonessential outings. Thousands of retail salespersons were laid off or had their hours reduced to zero. While most nonessential retail shops have reopened, they must follow regulations for physical distancing, occupancy levels, and increased sanitization. Some have also chosen to keep reduced business hours, reducing the total number of salespersons needed. The effect of COVID-19 has varied by type of retail. For example, many grocery stores increased shifts or hired additional staff in the spring as consumers stockpiled groceries in preparation for a potential lockdown. Some essential retail salespersons received a temporary wage increase during this period. Sales in most types of retail in Nova Scotia recovered by August except for clothing and gasoline. In comparison, the rebound of employment has been slower and remains well below pre- pandemic levels. Some employers have also reported that a shortage of salespersons developed or worsened during the pandemic. In response to a decrease in foot traffic and fewer tourists, some businesses have added or improved their online purchase and delivery options.

In general, the number of retail businesses and employees has increased over time with population and income growth. However, recent changes such as the increased popularity of online shopping and self-serve checkouts may erode demand for this position. A high rate of employee turnover is a major driver of job vacancies in this occupation. In some communities and under certain economic conditions, the pool of candidates applying for vacancies can be large as education and skill requirements are low.

The median employment income for the 32% of Retail Salespersons who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $30,414. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$12.95

Median

$20.34

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,694

Minimum

$14,508

Median

$44,416

Maximum

Compared to: All Sales and Service

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$18.36

Median

$22.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,949

Minimum

$16,629

Median

$45,086

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Retail salespersons sell, rent, or lease a range of technical and non-technical goods and services directly to consumers. They work for stores and other retail businesses, as well as wholesale businesses that sell on a retail basis to the public. Retail salespersons may specialize and act as consultants in home entertainment systems, computers and other products and services.

Job duties

Retail salespersons:

  • Greet customers and discuss type, quality and quantity of merchandise or services sought for purchase, rental or lease.
  • Advise customers on use and care of merchandise, and provide advice concerning specialized products or services.
  • Estimate or quote prices, credit terms, trade-in allowances, warranties, and delivery dates.
  • Prepare merchandise for purchase, rental or lease.
  • Prepare sales, rental or leasing contracts and accept cash, cheque, credit card or automatic debit payment.
  • Help display merchandise.
  • Maintain sales records for inventory control.
  • Use computerized inventory record keeping and re-ordering systems.
  • May conduct sales transactions through Internet-based electronic commerce.

Sample job titles

  • convenience store clerk
  • floral arranger - retail
  • motor vehicle salesperson
  • pharmacy clerk
  • retail sales associate
  • retail sales clerk
  • retail salesperson
  • sales and rental clerk
  • sales greeter
  • store clerk

Skills

You should have good interpersonal and communication skills. Patience, tact, and enthusiasm are important. You must always be alert to the customers' needs and be as helpful and efficient as possible. Basic math skills and product knowledge are also needed. Knowledge of another language, especially French, is an asset. Demonstrated sales ability and product knowledge are usually required for retail salespersons who sell complex or valuable merchandise like cars and trucks, antiques, or computers.

Job requirements

  • High school may be required.
  • A university degree or college diploma may be required by some employers.
  • Specific subject matter courses or training may be required.

Other considerations

Many positions are filled by part-time employees, who are required to work in the evenings and on weekends. Hours of work will depend on the needs of the employer. Earnings vary throughout the year due to the fact that retail salespersons are often employed part-time and have their hours increased or decreased according to sales levels. Also, wages are often supplemented with sales commissions. People in these jobs must be on their feet for long periods of time. Technical or sales training programs may be provided by employers. Progression to retail supervisory positions is possible with additional training or experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

20,085

employed in 2016

47.9%

employed full-time

3.9%

self employed

59.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
40.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
34.9

median age

Compared to: All Sales and Service

102,605

employed in 2016

56.4%

employed full-time

5.8%

self employed

60.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
39.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
37

median age

Where will I likely work?

48.5%

Halifax

16.2%

North Shore

12.9%

Cape Breton

12.0%

Annapolis Valley

10.4%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

84.1%

Retail trade

3.7%

Wholesale trade

2.1%

Manufacturing

1.2%

Real estate and rental and leasing

1.2%

Arts, entertainment and recreation

What is the age of Employment?

35.0%

15-24

16.0%

55-64

15.0%

45-54

15.0%

25-34

11.0%

35-44

7.0%

65+

Compared to: All Sales and Service

30.0%

15-24

17.2%

45-54

17.2%

25-34

16.1%

55-64

13.8%

35-44

Top levels of education

45.6%

High school

$14,269 median annual income
18.0%

College Diploma

$17,832 median annual income
17.1%

Less than high school

$8,323 median annual income
11.3%

Bachelor

$16,784 median annual income
5.0%

Apprenticeship

$21,890 median annual income

Compared to: All Sales and Service

39.8%

High school

$15,705 median annual income
19.7%

Less than high school

$9,866 median annual income
19.5%

College Diploma

$20,644 median annual income
9.9%

Bachelor

$21,262 median annual income
8.0%

Apprenticeship

$21,234 median annual income

Education & training

There is no information to display in this section

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Retail Council of Canada
Dartmouth, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.