Sales assistant

shop assistant store assistant sales staff
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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would serve customers and look after stock in a shop such as a supermarket, fashion store or department store.

Your aim would be to help people have a great shopping experience. You could work in a large chain store or a smaller independent retailer. Your place of work might be anywhere, but would probably be on your local high street or in a shopping centre.

You would:

  • Serve and advise customers
  • Take payments
  • Help customers to find the goods they want
  • Order goods and look after stock
  • Give information on products and prices
  • Stack shelves or display goods in an attractive way
  • Arrange window displays
  • Promote special offers or store cards
  • Handle complaints or pass them on to a manager

Some stores, for example mobile phone shops, DIY or electrical goods stores, may expect you to have a lot of knowledge about their products before you apply.

Working conditions

Hours

In a full-time job you would normally work between 35 and 40 hours a week, possibly including weekends and evenings. Part-time work is often available and you may work shifts.

Environment

You would spend a lot of time on your feet and may need to lift and carry items of stock. You would often wear a uniform.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping customers
  • Being tactful
  • Working with numbers

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most employers value a good general education and some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6.

You can enter some National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 5-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths

You will also need

Good customer care skills.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show good customer service skills and levels of numeracy such as Skills for Work Retailing (SCQF Level 5) or a National Certificate / National Qualification in Retail (SCQF 5-6).

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Retail (SVQ Level 2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.

Some experience of working with the public. Many stores take on staff at Christmas and this can be a good way of gaining experience which may lead to a permanent job.

Explore more information about this job