A retail assistant sells goods in shops and stores. These could range from clothing or mobile phone shops to DIY and furniture stores.
You could be:
learning about the products sold within the store
discussing what the customer wants and showing what the shop has in stock
taking orders for things which are out of stock
if necessary explaining how you can pay by instalments
working out the total price and taking cash, card or voucher payments
operating the till which may be computerised with a barcode scanner
removing security tags and wrapping up goods for customers
displaying the goods on the shelves and in the window
dealing with complaints.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2022 the National Minimum Wage is £4.81 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17, £6.83 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £9.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage is £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over.
This can rise to around £9.00 an hour or more.
You will work indoors.
You will be on your feet a lot and might have to carry heavy items.
You might have to work evenings and weekends.
You may have to work longer hours near Christmas.
Part time work is common.
You usually have to wear a staff uniform.
You may get a discount on goods you buy from the shop.
You do not need formal qualifications, but a good general education is helpful.
You should be fit enough to carry heavy loads.
Apply directly to shops, from small newsagents to large department stores, from specialised boutiques to supermarkets.
You may be able to get into a Modern Apprenticeships in retailing in some areas.
Good keyboard skills or some computer knowledge may also be useful.