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Retail Employment

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Retail employment includes all means of living which basically consists of selling any kind of commodity or goods from a fixed location. This location could either be a department store, shops, a boutique, a kiosk, a showroom, it could be thru mail or, just recently, through the internet for direct consumption. Retailing can be considered the ‘end of the supply chain’.

Retail sales persons duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to look after their selling area, make sure the merchandize is neatly displayed; they must be able to describe a product’s features and show its various models and colors, and demonstrate its use; and generally provide all information regarding the product. They must also be tactful, patient and able to direct a customer to the location of the item he/she is looking for and try to convince them to buy the merchandize.

Cashiers duties and responsibilities are mostly confined to the cash register. They receive payment in cash, checks or charge thru credit cards and give change. At the end of his/her shift turns over the money to the designated person. In some establishments they are responsible for depositing the money into bank accounts. Cashiering is usually an entry level job requiring basic math skills, no previous work experience and formal training. Of importance is accuracy in doing repetitive work. Honesty is also considered by employers since a cashier is constantly around money.


In some smaller stores and kiosks the job of sales person and cashier are performed by the same person.

Retail sales people and cashiers typically have comfortable and well lighted work environments inside department stores, showrooms and supermarkets. Others though, work in less comfortable areas, like wet markets and street bazaars. Work hours vary, depending on the work setting. The common workers in the big and modern department stores and malls usually have a fixed 8 hour shift, 6 days a week in their contracts and are usually informed in advance if they have to render overtime service, especially during holidays. In the less formal wet markets, bazaars or kiosks, time in and time out is usually not strictly enforced just as long as the employee comes early enough and only extend if absolutely necessary or as long as there is a customer who needs to be attended to.

Usually employers require at least a high school graduate or equivalent to fill in retail jobs. To qualify for positions with higher responsibility such as supervisor or manager, a worker needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some stores provide on the job training. Recent trends though have shown that the large and more established store chains prefer applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree. Good communications skills are usually demanded of retail sales persons.

The outlook for retail careers for the period from 2008 thru 2018 is always good. It is predicted to grow by around 8 percent, about the average for all other occupations. Every year, aside from new businesses opening and producing more traditional retail salesperson jobs, a lot of people leave these types of occupations every year. Added to this is the policy of big retail stores of just renewing the contracts of their workers every 5 or 6 months rather than take them in as regular employees, so that they can save and be flexible and just add more sales persons when they are really needed, like during peak sales months such as the Christmas season.

Increase in the number of retail employment usually reflects higher retail sales resulting from a growing population, which will almost always grow bigger. Usually retail outlets expand every year bringing with it new job openings. This is why employment prospects in this line of work are expected to be good.

The median hourly wage for all types of retail jobs is around $10.00 including commissions for workers having 2 or more years of experience. For entry level workers entering retail employment the median hourly wage is around $8.00.

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