The most readily available jobs in retailing are those that pay the least and have limited upward mobility, primarily because they require fewer skills. However, landing one of those jobs can be an invaluable foothold into the industry.
Retail outlets often have a hierarchy that provides greater management opportunities and higher pay as you invest more time in the business, and the number of qualified candidates falls. For example, here are average salary and employment estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for four of the most typical retail industry jobs:
- Cashiers: $18,500/year median salary; 2.7 million employees
- Retail Salespersons: $20,990; 3.9 million employees
- Store and Stock Clerks: $24,100; 1.3 million employees
- Supervisors and Managers: $58,360; 487,000 employees
Cashiers represent a retail workforce that is more about smaller targets than complex strategy. They are largely part of the tactical team, thereby reducing their average income and opportunities for promotion. Most who become cashiers work hard to improve their skills in the position, but they eventually branch out into other professions as the job’s growth opportunities are limited.
Store and stock clerks offer slightly better opportunities for growth, as their organizational and management skills are honed. There are more opportunities for growth, but such jobs are less available.
Salespersons have the most opportunities for showcasing their skill and tact in sales, and often stick with the same profession as their career grows. Their interaction with corporate representatives allows them the chance to advance into better retail job positions or branch out into other avenues of sales in other industries.
Retail supervisors and managers has the greatest potential for growth and a rising income among the most typical retail jobs. Opportunities for successful supervisors include individual store management and, eventually, local and regional store management and operations.