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What it’s like to work in retail

In retail, customer service is central. Displaying and merchandising products effectively is also key. Most roles are customer-facing, but there are administration and behind-the-scenes jobs too. If you’re driven by sales and you love working with people, you’ll thrive in retail. 

What people love about working in retail

Here are some of the benefits of working in retail: 

  • You can have regular, friendly interactions with customers and help solve their problems. 
  • There are many diverse roles available with growth opportunities, from assistant to manager. 
  • You can get creative with technology by building unique customer journeys both in store and online. 
  • The work is flexible, which means you can tailor your workload to suit your needs. There are opportunities for part-time, casual, full-time and shift work. 

Where you can work

The retail industry has a wide range of employers. For example, you could work for a small locally owned business, a large department store, or anything in between. Some businesses will have a physical and online presence, and others may be only online or only a physical store.  

The kinds of retail settings you could work in include:

  • department stores
  • general stores
  • specialty stores
  • pharmacies
  • supermarkets
  • convenience stores
  • outlets which are fully online, or have an online and physical presence. 

Average salary

The average weekly earnings for people who work in the retail trade industry in Australia is $800.

Source: Your Career(opens in a new window)

Note this salary is current as of May 2024 and is indicative only. A range of salaries apply to different roles across the industry.

Job demand in Victoria

Below are the projected employment forecasts for the retail trade industry in Victoria. Figures show the number of workers in 2023 and the new workers expected to enter the workforce by 2026.

‘New workers expected’ accounts for workers adding new jobs to the economy and replacing retirees over the next 3 years. These forecasts are estimates only. There will be additional jobs available as people move between jobs and industries.

RegionWorkers 2023Workforce growth 2023-2026New workers needed by 2026
Melbourne – inner metropolitan40,429-0.3%1,733
Melbourne – inner south-east metropolitan31,381-0.5%1,118
Melbourne – southern metropolitan55,457-0.7%1,741
Melbourne – northern metropolitan37,242-0.5%1,401
Melbourne – eastern metropolitan49,274-0.6%1,755
Melbourne – western metropolitan41,888-0.6%1,418
Ballarat and surrounds (Central Highlands)10,649-0.3%454
Bendigo, Echuca and surrounds (Loddon Campaspe)11,286-0.9%271
Geelong, Colac and surrounds (Barwon)18,716-0.1%936
Horsham and surrounds (Wimmera Southern Mallee)1,762-2.5%<10
Mildura, Swan Hill and surrounds (Mallee)3,913-1.8%<10
Shepparton, Seymour and surrounds (Goulburn)6,020-0.5%217
Wangaratta, Wodonga and surrounds (Ovens Murray)6,610-0.9%170
Warrnambool, Hamilton and surrounds (Great South Coast)4,841-1.7%<10

Source: Victorian Skills Authority employment forecast dashboard

Resources to plan your next steps

Visit our retail industry profile(opens in a new window) to find out about:

Explore growing industries in your region