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

  • $850 Weekly Pay
  • 517,800 workers Employment Size
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Entry level Skill level rating
  • Higher unemployment Unemployment
  • 29.2% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 36.7 hours Average full-time
  • 25 years Average age
  • 67.1% female Gender Share

The number of Sales Assistants (General) 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 above average in 2017.
  • Location: Sales Assistants (General) work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Retail Trade; Accommodation and Food Services; and Manufacturing.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: Less than half work full-time (29.2%, fewer than the all jobs average of 68.4%), showing there are many opportunities to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 36.7 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 25 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are under 25 years of age (49.5%).
  • Gender: 67.1% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

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
2014519200
2015536200
2016537300
2017537000
2018517800
2023525200

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Trade73.3
Accommodation and Food Services14.5
Manufacturing4.1
Wholesale Trade3.0
Other Industries5.1

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 2017, 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
NSW30.531.6
VIC26.826.2
QLD22.019.7
SA6.86.7
WA9.210.8
TAS2.42.0
NT0.81.1
ACT1.51.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-1927.2-5.25.2
20-2422.3-9.99.9
25-3416.1-23.623.6
35-4411.7-21.721.7
45-5411.1-20.820.8
55-595.7-8.88.8
60-643.3-6.06.0
65 and Over2.6-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

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

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • 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.

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.

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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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