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Retail Sales Workers

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Social: 61
  • Purpose: 31
  • Creative: 28
  • Analytical: 26
  • Supported: 5

What Retail Sales Workers Do

Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of retail sales workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.

Work Environment

Most retail sales workers work in clean, well-lit stores. Many sales workers work evenings and weekends. About 1 in 3 retail salespersons worked part time in 2014.

How to Become a Retail Sales Worker

Typically, there are no formal education requirements for retail sales workers. Most receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Retail salespersons
  • Parts salespersons

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of retail sales workers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Many workers leave this occupation, which means there will be a large number of job openings.

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    Job Trends for Retail Sales Workers

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    This occupation supported 4,668,300 jobs in 2012 and 4,859,599 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 4.1%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 9.6% in 2022 to 5,118,500 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 4,758,300, compared with an observed value of 4,859,599, 2.1% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 7.1% in 2024 to 5,190,600 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 5,208,500 jobs for 2024, 0.3% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.

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