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Job Description of a Shift Supervisor

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Though at least a bachelor’s degree is required for most upper management positions, some individuals with only a high school diploma can work their way up to the position of an executive from the position of a retail worker. One of the first supervisory positions that many workers get is the shift supervisor position, which puts one worker in charge of fellow workers.


Shift supervisors are often the lowest level type of supervisor in an institution. These supervisors oversee a small group of individuals to make sure that all duties are being fulfilled and that customer satisfaction is maintained at the local level. Shift supervisors are often responsible for the opening and closing of stores, the scheduling of workers and inventory processing. Many shift supervisors also perform many of the tasks that the workers perform. These workers are promoted after demonstrating a potential for leadership. Generally, the shift supervisor does not have the ability to fire or promote workers and is not responsible for the long term planning of the business. Workers who want to gradually work the ranks up to upper management positions will often start with this position.


Shift supervisors often have offices that they share within the store. However, most of the time is spent on the floor with the other workers. On some days, shift supervisors can expect to spend a lot of time on their feet. Shift supervisors usually work 40 hours a week, though many supervisors work longer hours during busy shopping seasons. They are often required to work nights and weekends. Shift supervisors are sometimes required to report to work on a short notice when employees do not show up for work.


Shift supervisors do not usually need any post-secondary education. Instead, personal qualities and a thorough understanding of the operations of the store are more important. However, some shift supervisor positions require a bachelor’s degree, usually in business management or social sciences. Classes in accounting, marketing, management and sales can help shift supervisors develop skills useful for their position. Interpersonal skills, communication skills, self-discipline, judgment and patience with customers are often skills needed to become a shift supervisor.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2.2 million sales supervisors were employed in 2008. The need for sales supervisors is expected to grow by 5 percent between 2008 and 2018. The need for sales supervisors is driven by the general growth of the retail industry, which is mostly driven by the health of the economy and by population growth. Many of the products sold in retail stores require that the customers have a disposable income.


Shift supervisors earned a median of $35,310 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."