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

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    High School or Certificate I
  • Employment Size

    529,400
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    32.9%
  • Female Share

    67.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    27.3%

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This is a very large occupation employing 529,400 workers. The number of workers has grown strongly over the past 5 years.
Over the next 5 years (to May 2022) the number of workers is expected to grow moderately to 554,300. Around 481,000 job openings are likely over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

  • 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 (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $850 per week (lower than the all jobs average of $1,230). 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 the all jobs average of 40 years). Around 5 in 10 workers are young (aged 15 to 25 years).
  • Around 7 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was above average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
2007452800
2008465000
2009464700
2010486600
2011496900
2012486000
2013511700
2014518400
2015540500
2016528000
2017529400
2022554300

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. 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

Full-Time and Part-Time Status (% Share) and Average Weekly Hours (Full-Time)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySales Assistants (General)All Jobs Average
Full-time27.368.4
Part-time72.731.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)36.840

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. 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
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, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateSales Assistants (General)All Jobs Average
NSW31.331.8
VIC25.625.5
QLD20.319.8
SA7.76.8
WA11.111.2
TAS1.92
NT0.81.1
ACT1.41.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketSales Assistants (General)All Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-1930.2-5.45.4
20-2423.1-9.99.9
25-3414.3-23.423.4
35-4410.3-21.721.7
45-5412.5-21.121.1
55-594.2-8.78.7
60-643.7-5.95.9
65 and Over1.8-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySales Assistants (General)CategoryAll Jobs Average
Males32.9Males53.6
Females67.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationSales Assistants (General)All Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate2.4-8.68.6
Bachelor degree7-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma8-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV14-18.918.9
Year 1236-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1026.6-17.717.7
Below Year 106-8.18.1

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.

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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 41-2031.00 - Retail Salespersons.

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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 41-2031.00 - Retail Salespersons.

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