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The Definitive Guide To Working in The Retail Industry In 2022 (USA)

The retail industry in the United States is expected to grow in the next decade. This guide will provide an overview of the retail industry in America, common job titles and their descriptions, salaries for various positions, and tips on how to get a job in retail.

Table of content:

Chapter 1. Overview of the retail industry in the USA.

Chapter 2. Reasons to work in retail.

Chapter 3. Most common job titles in retail and their descriptions.

Chapter 4. Salaries in retail in the USA.

Chapter 5. Outlook for the retail industry.

Chapter 6. Tips how to get a job in retail.

Chapter 1. Overview of the retail industry in the USA.

The retail industry in the United States is an important part of the economy. Retail sales accounted for about $5,570 billion in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The retail industry employs millions of Americans, with more than 4 million people working in general merchandise stores and more than 3 million people working in food and beverage stores as of 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The retail industry has changed significantly over the past few decades due to technological advancements and changes in consumer behavior. For example, online shopping has become increasingly popular, accounting for about 11 percent of all retail sales in 2017, up from just 1 percent in 2000, according to eMarketer.

In addition, consumers are now more likely to purchase items through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. As a result, many brick-and-mortar retailers have implemented digital strategies such as developing mobile apps and creating an online presence in order to remain competitive.

Despite these changes, employment in the retail sector has remained relatively steady over the past few years. There were about 15 million people employed in the retail industry as of May 2021, which is only slightly lower than the 15.4 million people employed in this sector back in May 2014, according to BLS data.

However, there has been some shift within the industry itself when it comes to employment growth: while job growth has slowed down for general merchandise stores since 2014 (-0.8 percent), it has accelerated for food and beverage stores (+2 percent) during that same time period (BLS).

Retail jobs in Davis County, UT
Don Ramey Logan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Looking ahead, employment in the retail sector is expected to grow by about 2 percent between 2016 and 2026 - slower than the projected average growth rate for all occupations during that time period (7 percent), according to BLS data. This slower growth is due largely to continued competition from online retailers as well as other technological advancements that require fewer workers (such as self-checkout kiosks).

Nevertheless, certain types of jobs within the retail sector are projected to experience above-average growth during this time period: specifically jobs involving customer service Representatives (+5 percent) and salespersons (+4 percent), according to BLS data . So despite overall challenges facing the retail industry , there will still be opportunities for job seekers who are interested in pursuing a career path within this field.


U.S. Census Bureau


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Chapter 2. Reasons to work in retail industry.

1. You can learn new things every day.

The retail industry is constantly changing, which means that you can always be learning new things. Whether it's keeping up with the latest trends or learning about new products, there's always something new to learn in retail.

2. You can meet lots of different people.

One of the best things about working in retail is that you get to meet lots of different people from all walks of life. You'll never have a boring day when you're surrounded by such a diverse group of people.

3. It's a great way to start your career.

If you're not sure what you want to do with your life, working in retail can be a great way to start your career and figure out what you want to do next. There are so many different opportunities in the retail industry, so it's easy to find an entry-level job that suits your interests and skillset. Plus, once you get your foot in the door, it's easier to move up within the company if you decide that you want to pursue a career in retail long-term.

4. Retail jobs are often relatively flexible.

Many retail jobs offer part-time or flexible hours, which can be ideal if you're attending school or have other commitments outside of work. Some retailers also offer shift swapping, which can allow you to better manage your work/life balance.

5. Retailers often offer employee discounts.

One of the biggest perks of working in retail is that many retailers offer employees discounts on merchandise. This discount can range from 10% to 20% off (or even more), which can add up to significant savings over time – especially if you like to shop!

6. There's potential for career growth within the industry.

While it's true that not everyone wants to make a career out of working in retail, there is potential for career growth within the industry for those who are interested. Many big-box retailers offer management training programs that could lead to higher-paying positions down the road. Plus, with so many different types of retailers out there - from small mom-and-pop shops to large corporations – there's bound to be something that fits your interests and goals.

7. It's Easy to get started working In retail

One of the best things about working in retail is that it's usually pretty easy to get started. Most employers don't require any formal education or training beyond high school (although some may prefer applicants with prior customer service experience). So whether you're looking for a first job out of college or trying to secure part-time employment while raising kids at home, chances are good that you'll be considered for a retail position with little to no trouble at all.

Chapter 3. Most common job titles in retail and their descriptions.

1. Sales Associate

A retail sales associate is the basic, entry-level job in a retail setting. A sales associate helps customers find the products they want and processes transactions at the register. In some cases, they might also help with stocking shelves or cleaning up the store. Many retailers offer on-the-job training for sales associates, so no prior experience is usually required.

2. Stocker

A stocker is responsible for keeping shelves stocked and organized. They may also be responsible for unloading trucks full of new merchandise and stocking it on the shelves. Stockers typically work overnight shifts when stores are closed to customers so that they can restock shelves without getting in the way of shoppers.

3. Cashier

A cashier is responsible for operating a register and processing transactions at a retail store. Cashiers must be quick and efficient while providing excellent customer service. Many stores now use self-checkout lanes, but there are still cashiers needed to help shoppers who need assistance or have questions about using the machines.

4. Loss Prevention Officer

Loss prevention officers work in retail settings to prevent theft and fraud. They may monitor security cameras, patrol store floors, or inspect bags as customers leave to deter shoplifting. If someone is caught stealing, loss prevention officers may detain them until police arrive or handle the situation themselves according to company policy.

5. Store Manager

Store managers are responsible for all aspects of running a retail location including hiring and training employees, managing inventory, overseeing finances, handling customer complaints, and maintaining store appearance standards. Store managers often work long hours including nights and weekends since most stores are open during those times.

6. Assistant Store Manager

Assistant store managers perform many of the same duties as store managers but generally have less authority over employees and operations. In larger stores, assistant managers may oversee specific departments such as electronics or home goods while working under the guidance of the store manager; smaller stores may only have one assistant manager who assists with various tasks as needed.

7. Retail Buyer

Retail buyers purchase products that will be sold in retail stores from manufacturers or wholesalers. They negotiate prices , select merchandise based on trends, forecast future demand, create purchase orders, track shipments, and monitor inventory levels. Buyers typically work closely with merchandisers and product managers to ensure that products ordered arrive on time and meet quality standards. Some buyers also travel to trade shows or visit manufacturing plants to stay up-to-date on industry trends.

Chapter 4. Salaries in retail in the USA.

In the United States, the average salary for retail workers is $14.03 per hour. This means that full-time retail employees earn an average of $29,180 per year. However, these figures can vary greatly depending on the type of retail establishment, the location, and the employee's position and experience.

For example, cashiers working in supermarkets located in rural areas typically earn less than those working in major metropolitan areas. And entry-level positions such as sales associate or stock clerk usually pay less than manager or assistant manager positions. In general, larger retailers tend to pay more than smaller ones.

The following are median annual salaries for various retail positions in the United States (BLS data as for April, 2022):

  • Cashiers: $27,260

  • Sales Associates: $30,600

  • Stock Clerks: $26,000

The retail industry in the United States is one of the largest and most important sectors of the economy, employing millions of Americans across a wide range of occupations. In recent years, however, the industry has come under pressure as technological change and competition from online retailers has led to job losses and stagnating wages.

Despite these challenges, retail remains an important source of employment in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were over 15 million Americans employed in the retail sector as of 2021, making it the second-largest employer after health care. Retail jobs are found throughout the country, although employment is concentrated in certain states.

California, Texas, New York, and Florida are home to more than one-fifth of all retail jobs in the United States. Retail jobs can be divided into two broad categories: general merchandise stores and specialty stores. General merchandise stores include department stores, discount stores, warehouse clubs, and supercenters.

These establishments sell a wide variety of goods including clothing, electronics, furniture, home appliances, and groceries. Specialty stores focus on selling a specific type of product such as apparel (clothing and shoe stores), books or music (bookstores and music stores), or sporting goods (sporting goods stores).



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Chapter 5. Outlook for the retail industry.

The retail industry in the United States is a dynamic and ever-changing sector of the economy. The past few years have been particularly challenging for retailers, as consumers have become more cautious with their spending and competition from online retailers has increased. However, there are signs that the retail industry is beginning to rebound, as consumer confidence and spending levels have started to improve.

One of the biggest challenges facing retailers today is competition from online sellers such as Amazon. In order to compete effectively against these giant e-commerce companies, brick-and-mortar retailers need to focus on providing a superior customer experience through convenient store locations, knowledgeable staff, and competitive prices. They also need to invest in omni-channel capabilities so that they can seamlessly integrate their physical and online operations.

Despite these challenges, there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of retailing in the United States. The economy is strengthening, wages are rising, and consumer confidence levels are near all-time highs. These trends should lead to increased demand for goods and services across all sectors of the retail industry.

Chapter 6. Tips how to get a job in retail.

The retail industry in the United States is one of the most competitive industries to get a job in. There are millions of people vying for the same jobs, and only a limited number of positions available. If you want to increase your chances of getting a job in retail, there are a few things you can do.

1. Get experience.

Working in retail is very different from working in other industries, so it's important that you have some experience before applying for jobs. The best way to get experience is to intern or work part-time at a retail store while you're still in school. This will give you a feel for the industry and help you decide if it's something you're interested in pursuing long-term.

2. Build your resume.

In addition to having relevant experience, it's also important that your resume is up-to-date and tailored specifically for the retail industry. Highlight any customer service or sales experience you have, as well as any leadership roles or special projects you spearheaded during your previous jobs.

3. Network with people in the industry .

One of the best ways to get your foot in the door is by networking with people who already work in retail . Attend industry events, follow retailers on social media , and reach out to connections you may have through family or friends. Getting your name out there and making yourself known will increase your chances of being considered for open positions.

4. Be knowledgeable about trends .

When interviewing for a job in retail, it's important that you're up-to-date on current trends happening within the industry . Doing research beforehand shows that you're invested and enthusiastic about working within retail, which will make you more attractive to potential employers.

5. Apply early and often.

Most retailers post their open positions online, so be sure to check job boards regularly. Applying as soon as a position becomes available shows that you're eager and motivated, two qualities all employers value highly. And don't be discouraged if you don't hear back right away!