Sales Assistants (General) sell goods and services, such as food, clothing, hardware, household appliances, office supplies and cosmetics, in retail and wholesale establishments.

A Year 10 Certificate, Certificate I, or a short period of on-the-job training is sometimes needed, but is not necessary. Around one third of workers have Year 12 as their highest level of education.

Tasks

  • determining customer requirements and advising on product range, price, delivery, warranties and product use and care
  • demonstrating and explaining to customers the establishment's goods and services
  • selling food, beverages, clothing, footwear and other personal and household goods and services
  • accepting payment for goods and services by a variety of payment methods and preparing sales invoices
  • assisting with the ongoing management of stock such as product inventories and participating in stocktakes
  • stacking and displaying goods for sale, and wrapping and packing goods sold

Job Titles

  • Sales Assistant
  • Sales Assistant (also called Retail Sales Assistant)

    Specialisations: Clothing Sales Assistant, Cosmetic Sales Assistant, Fast Food Sales Assistant, Hardware Sales Assistant

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $850 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    strong
  • Skill Level

    High School or Certificate I
  • Employment Size

    552,800
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    32.9%
  • Female Share

    67.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    27.3%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 552,800 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create more than 50,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Sales Assistants (General) work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Retail Trade; Accommodation and Food Services; and Manufacturing.
  • Part-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 36.8 hours per week.
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are low at around $850 per week. Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly young. The average age is 23 years (compared to 40 for all careers). Around 5 in 10 worker are young (aged 15 to 25 years).
  • Around 1 in 3 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was above average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearEmployment Level
2005503600
2006462500
2007466600
2008451600
2009478000
2010508300
2011486300
2012500500
2013521800
2014509000
2015552800
2020618600

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Careers Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015 cat. no. 6333.0. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsSales Assistants (General)All Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings8501230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016.
CategorySales Assistants (General)All Jobs Average
Full-time28.869
Part-time71.230.8
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)37.240.2

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Retail Trade72.3
Accommodation and Food Services16.0
Manufacturing4.5
Wholesale Trade2.7
Other Industries4.5

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016.
StateSales Assistants (General)All Jobs Average
NSW31.331.8
VIC25.625.5
QLD20.319.8
SA7.76.7
WA11.111.1
TAS1.92
NT0.81.1
ACT1.41.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016.
Age BracketSales Assistants (General)All Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-1930.2-5.45.4
20-2423.1-9.99.9
25-3414.3-23.323.3
35-4410.3-21.621.6
45-5412.5-21.121.1
55-594.2-8.68.6
60-643.7-5.95.9
65 and Over1.8-3.73.7

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016.
CategorySales Assistants (General)CategoryAll Jobs Average
Males32.9Males53.8
Females67.1Females46.1

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: Based on ABS 2016 Survey of Education and Work (SEW).
Type of QualificationSales Assistants (General)All Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate2.4-8.58.5
Bachelor degree7.0-17.817.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma8.0-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV14.0-18.818.8
Year 1236.0-18.618.6
Years 11 & 1026.6-17.617.6
Below Year 106.0-8.08.0

A Year 10 Certificate, Certificate I, or a short period of on-the-job training is sometimes needed, but is not necessary.
Around one in two workers have Year 12 as their highest level of education.
If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for General Sale Assistants who interact well with others, provide good customer service and are reliable.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Customer and Personal Service

    86% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  2. Sales and Marketing

    78% Important

    Showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  3. English Language

    67% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  4. Mathematics

    60% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Administration and Management

    57% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Performing for or Working Directly with the Public

    93% Important

    Performing for, or speaking with, the public. This includes speaking on television, serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

  2. Selling or Influencing Others

    91% Important

    Convincing people to buy something or to change their minds or actions.

  3. Getting Information

    83% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  4. Building Good Relationships

    78% Important

    Building and keeping constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.

  5. Communicating with Persons Outside Organization

    76% Important

    Communicating with customers, the public, government, and others in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Occupational Information Network Retail Salespersons Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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