Contact us

Chat with us

Phone: 13 64 64 or (08)9224 6500
TTY: 08 9225 7831
(Hearing impaired only)
Site search



Occupation search

Occupation Search

Sales assistant (general)

Back to top

Summary of occupation

Retail sales assistants sell goods and services to customers in retail stores. They may sell all kinds of products, from clothing to electrical goods, flowers to cosmetics. A large portion of their work is serving and advising customers on the goods that they sell. They operate cash registers, take orders, display and price stock, and keep their store clean and orderly.

ANZSCO description: Sells goods and services, such as food,  clothing, hardware, household appliances, office supplies and  cosmetics, in a retail or wholesale establishment.
Alternative names: Retail Sales Assistant, Retail Sales Assistant
Specialisations: Car Sales Assistant, Clothing Sales Assistant, Computer and Electrical Goods Sales Assistant, Cosmetic and Skin Care Consultant, Cosmetic Sales Assistant, Fast Food Sales Assistant, Food Sales Assistant, Hardware Sales Assistant, Nursery Sales Assistant, Pharmacy Sales Assistant
Job prospects: Good
Back to top

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A retail sales assistant needs

  • a friendly and helpful attitude
  • to have a neat appearance
  • to enjoy working with people
  • excellent communication skills
  • to be able to deal with money accurately and honestly
  • to be able to work on their feet for long periods of time
Back to top

Working conditions

Retail sales assistants work in shops, outlet stores, department stores, supermarkets, warehouses, boutiques and grocers. They may occasionally work outdoors if they work at a car dealership or hardware and garden centre, but most work indoors. They frequently work on shifts during normal work hours, as well as on weekends and evenings. Their work environments are very public spaces, and can be incredibly busy and demanding during holidays.

Back to top

Salary details


On average, sales assistants (general) can expect to earn between up to $799 per week ($41 599 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience.

Back to top

Tools and technologies

Retail sales assistants use cash registers, EFTPOS and credit card machines, barcode readers, pricing label guns and small step ladders for stacking or arranging high displays. In some shops they may use specialised equipment for the particular product they are selling. Some may use scales and tape measures, others may use watering and gardening equipment, and some will use clip boards and brochures. Many retail sales assistants are required to wear uniforms.

Back to top

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a sales assistant without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. 

Relevant vocational education and training qualifications in retail services and retail operations are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

​You can also become a sales assistant by completing a traineeship.. A retail traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.

Related courses

Back to top

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

Back to top

Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

Back to top


Related links

Need advice?

Profile and social options