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Sales & marketing

Sales assistant

Sales assistants sell products and help customers.

Annual Salary

£13,000 to £26,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on a rota

2%
Future employment

There will be 2% fewer Sales assistant jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • serve and advise customers
  • unpack and sort new stock deliveries
  • arrange goods in displays and on shelves
  • rotate and replace stock
  • promote products
  • take cash and card payments and make sure the till balances
  • handle customer returns, refund payments and log details on paper or computer
  • meet sales targets
  • keep the store clean and tidy

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work at a store, in a stock room, at a garden centre or at a garage.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and crowded.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
College

You can learn some of the skills you need for this job by doing a:

  • Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Retail Skills
  • Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Sales Professional

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through a retailer intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could apply for permanent jobs after getting some experience from:

  • a temporary job in a store at busy periods, like Christmas
  • a weekend job

Volunteering and work experience

Getting experience volunteering in a charity shop will give you retail skills and could lead into paid work.

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs. Employers may ask for some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths. Retail or customer service experience will also be helpful.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • be over 18 to sell alcohol and other restricted goods

More information

Career tips

It will help if you:are confident about selling; have a positive, helpful attitude; can get on well with a wide range of customers

Some stores, like mobile phone or DIY shops, may expect you to have good knowledge of their products before you apply.

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With experience you could become a retail supervisor, manager or departmental manager.

You may be able to gain further qualifications for these roles through higher level apprenticeships like a retail leadership degree apprenticeship.

You could specialise in customer services, visual merchandising or buying. You could also set up and run your own independent shop or stall.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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