How to become a Sales Assistant

Sales assistants sell goods to customers in retail and wholesale establishments.

Personal requirements of a Sales Assistant

  • Enjoy working with people
  • A helpful, courteous manner
  • Neat personal appearance
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to deal accurately with money
  • Motivation and drive
  • No skin disorders if working with food
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Willing to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Sales Assistant

You can work as a sales assistant without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a sales assistant through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Sales Assistant

Sales assistants:

  • advise customers on the location, selection, price, delivery, use and care of goods available from the store, with the aim of encouraging them to buy and to return to buy in the future
  • operate cash registers and accept payment, or prepare finance arrangements (invoices and contracts, for example)
  • take special orders for items not currently in stock, or not normally stocked, and notify customers when the items have arrived
  • package goods for customers and arrange delivery
  • price, stack and display items for sale and keep the store tidy and attractive
  • be aware of health, safety and welfare issues and practices
  • participate in stocktaking (counting and describing the goods in stock)
  • arrange for the repair of damaged goods or advise on necessary repairs
  • order items.

Working conditions for a Sales Assistant

Some sales assistants work on a commission basis, which means that they are paid for each product, or number of products, that they sell. Sales assistants are on their feet most of the day attending to customers, finalising sales and tidying display units. They may work long hours and be required to work at night and on weekends. Managers establish a roster to determine work hours for staff. In most workplaces you will need to use computer systems for sales or payment processing.

Employment Opportunities for a Sales Assistant

The retail industry employs large numbers with a high staff turnover. There is potential for advancement in retailing for those showing initiative, enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT ACT 1.3%

NSW NSW 28.4%

NT NT 1%

QLD QLD 17.9%

SA SA 9.9%

TAS TAS 2.1%

VIC VIC 25.4%

WA WA 14.1%

Hours worked:



Higher unemployment

Gender split:

Male 62.2%

Female 37.8%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 8.3%

Not completed Year 12: 25.4%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 31.9%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 13.7%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 13.7%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 6.9%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 23.4%

20-24 - 25.5%

25-34 - 18.3%

35-44 - 13.3%

45-54 - 11.4%

55-59 - 5.2%

60-64 - 1.7%

65 and Over - 1.2%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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