Hourly Pay for Merchandise Associate Jobs
Merchandise associate, sales associate, sales clerk, sales worker and customer assistant are just some of the terms that refer to retail salespeople. They work in brick-and-mortar stores such as department stores and clothing shops to help consumers buy goods like shoes, clothes, TV appliances and cars. Their total compensation can combine a base salary and a commission on sales.
Merchandise associates determine what customers want to recommend merchandise. They answer customer questions, shows how items work, offer options, package and total the purchases, and accept payment in the form of cash, check, debit cards or credit cards. No advanced education is needed because salespeople learn on-the-job. However, some employers may prefer a high school diploma for expensive items such as cars or electronics. Retail salespeople averaged $12.08 per hour. The lowest-earning 10 percent made $8 per hour or less, while the highest-paid 10 percent received $18.51 per hour or more.
Merchandise associates work in stores that are clean, comfortable and well-lit enough to appeal to customers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2010, over a third of associates worked part-time. Evening, weekend and holiday schedules are common because these are the times that are convenient to shoppers. Because the busiest time for many stores is during the end-of-the-year holiday season, many employers limit vacation time for these workers during the holiday season between November and the beginning of January. The highest paying positions for merchandise associates was in other information services such as libraries and archives. Mean wages ran $24.67 per hour or $51,300 per year.
After some experience, merchandise associates who show management and organizational skills can advance to supervisory positions, where they may lead teams of salespeople. Mean wages for supervisors ran $19.53 per hour, with a low of $11.20 and a high of $29.52. They earned their highest wages of $45.95 per hour or $95,570 per year in insurance agencies and brokerages. With a bachelor’s degree and additional years on the job, supervisors could advance to sales managers in charge of departments, individual stores or entire chains. They earned a mean $56.18 per hour, with a range of $24.88 to over $80. Their highest wages were in securities and commodity exchanges, with means at $90.34 per hour or $187,910 per year.
The BLS predicts a 17 percent growth in jobs for merchandise associates from 2010 to 2020. This is slightly faster than the 14 percent expected for all U.S. occupations. Population growth and an expanding economy will provide much of the demand. Warehouse clubs and supercenters, which sell different types of merchandise in one location, will see the strongest growth. Following their overall decline in employment, department stores will hire fewer salespeople.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.
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