Employment of retail sales workers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment of retail salespersons is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment of retail salespersons has traditionally grown with the overall economy.
Online sales have grown strongly in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue. Online sales will likely affect employment growth of retail sales workers in a few ways. “Brick and mortar” retail stores are expected to increase their emphasis on customer service as a way to compete with online sellers. Therefore, traditional retail stores should hire more sales workers to provide this service. In addition, cost pressure may drive retailers to ask their in-store staff to do more. This means they may want workers who can perform a broad range of job duties that include helping customers find items, operating a cash register, and re-stocking shelves. Because retail sales workers have this versatile range of functions, their usage should also increase. However, online sales strength is also expected to limit the growth of the number of physical retail stores. Therefore, the limited number of stores may constrain overall employment growth, even though retail sales workers use within these stores should increase.
Online sales are projected to affect specific segments of the retail industry to varying extents. For instance, book and media stores are likely to see the most severe declines due to online competition. However, other retail segments, such as automobile dealers and clothing stores, have experienced much less of an impact. In general, although consumers are increasing their online retail shopping, they will continue to do the majority of their retail shopping in stores. Retail salespersons will be needed in stores to help customers and complete sales.
Employment of parts salespersons is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. People are keeping their cars longer and are buying new cars less often. Older cars need to be serviced more frequently, creating demand for car parts and parts salespersons. However, growth may be slowed by competition from online parts retailers.
Many workers leave this occupation, which means there will be a large number of job openings. This should result in many employment opportunities for qualified workers.
Retail Sales Workers
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Retail sales workers
Total, all occupations
Sales and related occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program