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A Career in Retail: Overview, Various Paths, and Salaries



The retail industry is one of the largest employers in the United States, with over 19 million people employed in retail jobs as of 2022. That number is only expected to grow in the coming years, as the U.S. population continues to increase and more people enter the workforce. Retail jobs are a critical part of our economy, and they provide opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds and levels of experience.

There are many different types of retail jobs available, from entry-level positions to management roles. Entry-level retail jobs can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry, and there are plenty of opportunities for advancement if you’re willing to work hard and move up within a company.

Overview of the retail industry in America

The retail industry in America is one of the most important industries in the economy. It employs millions of people and generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. The industry is made up of a wide variety of businesses, from small mom-and-pop shops to large multinational corporations.

The retail industry is constantly changing, affected by factors such as technological advancement, changes in consumer behavior, and the rise of e-commerce. Despite these challenges, the retail industry continues to grow and adapt. Here is an overview of the retail industry in America today.

The US retail industry generated $6.6 trillion in sales in 2021. This figure includes both online and offline sales. The total number of retail establishments in the US was about 3 million in 2017. The average size of a US retail store is 10,000 square feet.

There are several different types of retailers, including department stores, grocery stores, specialty stores, discount stores, and more. Department stores are typically large brick-and-mortar retailers that sell a wide range of merchandise categories under one roof.

Some examples of department stores include Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s. Grocery stores are another type of common retailer; they sell food and household items. There are many different types of grocery store formats, including supermarkets, supercenters, convenience stores, and more.

Supermarkets are usually larger than other types of grocery stores and offer a wider selection of products. Supercenters are even larger than supermarkets and offer a full range of groceries as well as general merchandise. Convenience stores tend to be smaller than other types of grocery stores but offer customers the ability to purchase items quickly and easily.

How to find a retail job in America

If you’re looking for a retail job in America, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.

  1. Start by researching the retail industry in your area. What types of stores are popular? What types of products do they sell? What are their hours of operation? This research will help you understand the competition and find a niche that you can fill.
  2. Next, create a resume that highlights your customer service skills and any sales experience you have. Be sure to include any relevant education or training as well. Retail employers are looking for candidates who have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, so be sure to showcase those qualities on your resume.
  3. Once you have a strong resume, start applying to retail jobs online or in person at local stores. Many retailers use online job boards to post open positions, so be sure to check those sites frequently. From Job.Guide you can find a nice selection of retail and customer service positions. You can also stop by stores that interest you and inquire about job openings; some retailers keep applications on hand at all times while others only accept them during specific hiring periods.
  4. When applying for retail jobs, be prepared to undergo a background check and drug test. Many employers require these procedures as part of their hiring process, so it’s important to be aware of them before beginning your job search. Additionally, some states have laws that require employers to provide certain information about the position (such as pay rate and hours) before an interview can take place; make sure you’re familiar with these laws so that you don’t inadvertently violate them during the application process.
  5. Finally, remember that landing a retail job usually requires persistence and patience. The best way to improve your chances of being hired is to apply for as many positions as possible and follow up with potential employers after submitting your application. With hard work and dedication, you’ll eventually find the perfect retail job in America!

Most common job titles in retail

There are many different types of jobs in the retail industry, from sales associate to store manager. Here are some of the most common retail job titles, along with a brief description of what each position entails:

Sales associate

The basic entry-level job in a retail setting, sales associates are responsible for helping customers find the products they need and providing excellent customer service. In some cases, they may also be responsible for operating the cash register and handling money.

Store manager

The store manager is responsible for all aspects of running a retail location, including hiring and training staff, ordering inventory, managing finances, and ensuring that customers have a positive shopping experience.

Assistant store manager

The assistant store manager assists the store manager with all aspects of running the store, including staffing, inventory management, and customer service. In some cases they may also be responsible for opening or closing the store.

Department manager

A department manager oversees a specific area or department within a larger retail store. They are responsible for stocking shelves, organizing merchandise displays, helping customers find what they need, and keeping their department clean and organized.

Visual merchandiser

A visual merchandiser is responsible for creating attractive displays that catch shoppers’ attention and encourage them to buy products. This may involve arranging items on shelves or building elaborate window displays.

Largest employers in retail

The following are some of the largest employers in retail in America:

Walmart: Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, with over 11,000 stores in 27 countries. The company employs 3 million people globally, making it one of the largest employers in the world. In the United States alone, Walmart employs 2.3 million people. The company offers a variety of positions across its many stores, including cashiers, stockers, customer service representatives, and managers.

Target: Target is the second-largest retailer in the United States after Walmart. The company has over 1,800 stores across America and employs 409,000 people. Target offers a wide range of positions for entry-level workers as well as experienced professionals. Some of the most popular positions at Target include cashiers, sales associates, stockers, customer service representatives, and human resources personnel.

Kohl’s: Kohl’s is a large department store chain with over 1,100 stores across 49 states. The company employs nearly 110 thousand people nationwide. Kohl’s offers a variety of both entry-level and career positions within its stores such as sales associate roles, stocking roles, customer service representative roles, manager roles, and more.  Applicants can apply online or at any number of locations throughout America.

Advantages and disadvantages of working in retail

There are many advantages to working in the retail industry. For one, retail jobs are usually very accessible, especially to those who are just starting out in their careers. Many entry-level retail jobs require little to no experience, and even if you do need experience for a certain position, it is typically easy to get your foot in the door by starting out in a lower-level job and working your way up.

In addition to being relatively easy to get, retail jobs can also be flexible. Many retailers offer part-time positions, which can be perfect for students or people who have other commitments outside of work. Retailers also often offer shift work, so you can choose hours that fit around your schedule.

And if you ever need time off for a personal emergency or vacation, most employers will be understanding as long as you give them sufficient notice and make an effort to find coverage for your shifts.

Another advantage of working in retail is that it can be a very social environment. If you enjoy talking with people and helping them find what they need, then a job in retail could be a great fit for you. You’ll also likely meet lots of different types of people from all walks of life while working in retail, which can help broaden your perspective on the world.

Of course, there are also some downsides to working in retail that you should be aware of before taking on a job in the industry. One potential downside is that because retail jobs are often entry-level positions, they may not pay as well as other types of jobs.

In addition, depending on where you work and what type of retailer it is (e., high-end vs. budget), customer interactions can sometimes be challenging or even downright frustrating – but this is something that varies greatly from employer to employer and location to location.

Overall though, if you’re looking for an entry-level job with relative ease of getting hired and good potential for flexibility and social interaction, then working in retail might just be the right choice for you!

Salaries in retail

There are a lot of factors that go into setting salaries in the retail industry in America. The most important factor is experience. Generally, the more experience an employee has, the higher their salary will be. Other important factors include the type of retail store, its location, and the company’s size.

The average hourly wage for retail employees in America is $14, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, this number can vary greatly depending on the type of retail store. For example, employees at department stores earn an average hourly wage of $16.47 while those working at grocery stores earn $10.50 per hour, on average. Location also plays a role in setting salaries; workers in urban areas tend to earn more than those employed in rural areas.

Advancement opportunities in retail

For retail employees, advancement opportunities may seem limited. After all, most retail jobs are entry-level positions with little room for growth. However, there are plenty of opportunities for retail employees to move up the ladder if they have the right skills and experience. With the right attitude and a bit of hard work, anyone can find success in the retail industry.

The first step to finding advancement opportunities is to talk to your manager. Many times, managers will be open to promoting from within if they have a good relationship with their employees. If you’ve been working hard and doing a good job, let your manager know that you’re interested in taking on more responsibility. You may be surprised at how willing they are to give you a chance.

Another way to find advancement opportunities is to look for them yourself. If you see an opening at another store or company that interests you, don’t be afraid to apply. Even if you don’t get the job, simply going through the interview process will give you valuable experience and make you more confident when it comes time to apply for other positions.

There are also many programs available that can help retail employees advance their careers. Many retailers offer training programs that can teach new skills or provide helpful information about management techniques.

These programs can be very beneficial, so it’s worth checking with your employer to see if they offer anything like this. Additionally, there are often online courses available that cover topics related to retail management and leadership – these can be found easily with a quick internet search.

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