Retail Salespersons (NOC 6421)/ Cashiers (NOC 6611)
Retail Salespersons may also be called:
- department store clerk
- retail sales clerk
- retail sales associate
- customer service clerk
Cashiers may also be called:
- grocery store cashier
- drug store cashier
What Would I Do?
Retail salespersons sell, rent or lease goods and services directly to consumers.
As a retail salesperson, your duties can include:
- preparing sales, rental or leasing contracts and/or take payment for services or goods using a cash register
- being responsible for maintaining sales records and tidying the store, creating display counters and stocking shelves
- working in small, medium and large organizations, including stores and other retail businesses and wholesale businesses
- explaining and answering questions about the products or services they are selling
Cashiers run cash registers, optical price scanners, computers or other equipment to record and accept payment for goods, services and admissions.
As a cashier, your duties can include:
- processing cash and credit card or debit card transactions
- validate cheques and coupons
- giving correct change
- issuing refunds and managing returns
Am I Suited For This Job?
Retail Salespersons should be:
- polite, friendly and patient
- self starters who can interact well with customers
- persuasive and have good communication skills
- comfortable with computers
Cashiers should have:
- strong oral communication skills
- public relations skills
- basic math skills
- ability to work well under pressure
Retail Salespersons usually work indoors although some sales (e.g. car sales, garden sales, lumber yards) involve working outdoors. You work on your feet most of the time. Hours tend to be irregular; evening and weekend work is common.
Cashiers usually run cash registers in an indoor environment. Cashiers work during the day, weekends, evenings and holidays. Hours tend to be irregular but can be flexible. Cashiers generally stand for long periods of time.
What Are The Wages And Benefits?
In British Columbia, the average annual salary for retail salespersons ranges from $33,000 – $44,000. In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:
Table from Job Bank Wage Report
Your earnings as a retail salesperson vary depending on experience, location, and employer. For example, large department stores may pay more than small independent stores. Also, some stores pay a salary plus commission, so the salesperson gets a percentage of the sale price of each item he or she sells. Some salespeople get only a salary. Others are paid by commission only.
Retail salespersons employed by large businesses on a full-time basis may receive benefits such as dental coverage, paid sick days, and vacation time. Smaller stores do not always offer the same benefits. Part-time salespeople do not generally receive benefits. Most retail salespeople receive discounts on the merchandise their employers sell.
In British Columbia, the average annual salary for cashiers ranges from $11,000 – $33,000. In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:
Table from Job Bank Wage Report
In addition to a salary, cashiers may receive job benefits such as health insurance and paid vacations. Cashiers who work in retail stores often receive discounts on merchandise as well. Benefits are usually better for full-time cashiers than those working part-time.
What Is The Job Outlook In BC?
For the 2014-2016 period, the employment outlook is expected to be fair for Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks (NOC 6421) in British Columbia.
The outlook also notes employment growth is expected to be weak and a moderate number of people are expected to retire.
Retail Salespersons (NOC 6421)
Chart from WorkBC
For the 2014-2016 period, the employment outlook is expected to be limited for Cashiers (NOC 6611) in British Columbia. The outlook also notes that employment growth is expected to be weak and a small number of people are expected to retire.
Cashiers (NOC 6611)
Chart from WorkBC
Sources: WorkBC, JobBank Canada
How Do I Become a Retail Salesperson or a Cashier?
In B.C., no standard training or education is required for retail salespersons although secondary school graduation is preferred. Some positions require little or no prior knowledge, while others (e.g. car salesperson) require a lot of training to make sure staff are knowledgeable about the product(s) they are selling. Other training may include on-the-job training, which can range from one-on-one instruction in small stores to official training programs in large chain stores.
Also, the Retail Council of Canada offers formal training through the ‘Retail Sales Associate (RSA) Certification Course’. The course covers customer service and sales, inventory, store appearance, security and safety.
In B.C., no standard training or education is required for cashiers. Cashiers are not expected to have any post-secondary training although they may need some secondary school education. Other training and requirements may include:
- on-the-job training
- fluency in both spoken and written English
- some general arithmetic to calculate customer transactions
- a gaming license for cashiers working at casinos
- some employers may require that cashiers are bonded (ability to be insured by the hiring company, so that in the event of theft or loss by the employee the company is insured for the value of the loss; this process usually requires criminal record and credit checks)
How Do I Find A Job?
Where would I work?
Retail salespersons may work in:
- small, medium and large organizations, including stores and other retail businesses and wholesale businesses
Cashiers may work in:
- organizations of all sizes, including stores, restaurants, theatres, recreational and sports establishments, currency exchange booths, government offices, business offices and other service, retail and wholesale establishments
Finding Advertised Jobs
Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.
You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.
Online Job Postings
Select category (e.g. ‘store operations – associate’) and BC (or your city/town).
[search for ‘cashier’]
job board for tourism and hospitality jobs in BC; posts jobs in casinos
[search for ‘cashier’]
Finding “Hidden Jobs”
Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.
Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers
You can use company directories to produce lists of employers who are in this industry. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.
- Canadian Directory of Shopping Centres
available at the Central Library, Level 4, Reference Resource, 380 Re4Cc
- Directory of Retail Chains in Canada
available at the Central Library, Level 4, Reference Resource, C380 D5983
- Reference Canada
Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
In the top search box enter “Retail shops”** and click LOOKUP.
Select the appropriate headings.
Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
**You can also search for other businesses/retail environments by entering the type of business followed by ‘retail’, e.g. ‘ shoes retail’, ‘liquors retail’, ‘hardware retail’.
NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).
Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies
Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.
Networking and the Hidden Job Market:
When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.
- Charity Village
[under search box, select ‘volunteer listings, then enter ‘retail’ or ‘sales’ or ‘cashier’]
For additional tips see:
Applying for a Job
In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience. Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.
For more information see:
Where Can This Job Lead?
With additional training or experience, progression to retail supervisor, department manager or store manager is possible. Depending on the size of the company, progression to a regional/provincial manager is possible. In some retail companies it is also possible to move into team training positions.
With additional training or experience, cashiers may progress to supervisory positions, such as head cashier, or to management positions.
Where Can I Find More Information?
- Retail Council of Canada (RCC) – Retail Education
RCC represents all different types of retail stores across Canada; their website provides information about a career in the retail industry