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

Also known as: Retail Sales Assistant.

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

You can work as a Sales Assistant (General) without formal qualifications. Some on the job training may be provided. VET (Vocational Education and Training) course in retail services are also available.

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

All Sales Assistants (General)

  • $961 Weekly Pay
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 517,800 workers Employment Size
  • Entry level Skill level rating
  • 28% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 41 hours Average full-time
  • 26 years Average age
  • 68% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Sales Assistants (General) (in their main job) is about the same as 5 years ago and is expected to stay about the same over the next 5 years:
from 517,800 in 2018 to 525,200 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 445,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 89,000 a year).

  • Size: This is a very large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2018.
  • Location: Sales Assistants (General) work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Retail Trade; Accommodation and Food Services; and Manufacturing.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $961 per week (lower than the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: Less than half work full-time (28%, less than the average of 66%), showing there are many opportunities to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 41 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 26 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are under 25 years of age (46%).
  • Gender: 68% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
2008465200
2009465000
2010486700
2011496900
2012486500
2013519800.0
2014519200.0
2015536200
2016537300
2017537000
2018517800.0
2023525200

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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 Earnings9611460

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Retail Trade70.6
Accommodation and Food Services14.1
Manufacturing4.0
Wholesale Trade3.7
Other Industries7.6

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, 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
NSW30.831.6
VIC27.225.6
QLD20.220.0
SA7.27.0
WA10.010.8
TAS2.42.0
NT0.71.0
ACT1.51.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketSales Assistants (General)All Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-1925.7-5.05.0
20-2420.3-9.39.3
25-3416.0-22.922.9
35-4411.7-22.022.0
45-5413.4-21.621.6
55-595.9-9.09.0
60-644.1-6.06.0
65 and Over2.9-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). 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 Certificate2.3-10.110.1
Bachelor degree9.1-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma7.3-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV11.5-21.121.1
Year 1236.7-18.118.1
Year 1110.8-4.84.8
Year 10 and below22.3-12.512.5

You can work as a Sales Assistant (General) without formal qualifications. Some on the job training may be provided. VET (Vocational Education and Training) course in retail services are also available.

Checks, licences and tickets

You may need:

  • national police check

Thinking about study or training?

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Retail Services VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Customer and personal service

    68% Skill level

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  2. Sales and marketing

    58% Skill level

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  3. English language

    46% Skill level

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

  4. Mathematics

    45% Skill level

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Administration and management

    42% Skill level

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and 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.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. Telephone

    100% Important

    Talk on the telephone.

  2. Contact with people

    98% Important

    Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.

  3. Contact with the public

    97% Important

    Work with customers or the public.

  4. Face-to-face discussions

    96% Important

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  5. Teamwork

    86% Important

    Work with people in a group or team.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and 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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