California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers in California

May also be called: Retail Store Managers; Retail Supervisors and Managers; Retail Managers; and Store Managers.

What Would I Do?

First-Line Supervisors and Managers of Retail Sales Workers monitor the work of sales-related workers, such as retail salespersons, cashiers, customer service representatives, stock clerks, order fillers, and sales representatives.

The duties of Retail Supervisors and Managers vary with the size of the retail business. Larger companies usually have numerous levels of management. Those who supervise workers are considered Supervisors. Managers oversee Supervisors. In larger retail establishments, First-Line Supervisors may specialize in one department, such as women’s apparel or housewares.

Retail Supervisors and Managers are generally responsible for interviewing, hiring, and training employees. They also prepare work schedules and assign workers to specific jobs. Their responsibilities may include purchasing, budgeting, accounting, or responding to customer inquiries or complaints. Retail Managers put company policies and security procedures into effect.

Retail Supervisors and Managers must be adaptable to change and willing to learn about newer technologies such as computerized cash registers, bar-coding and scanning technologies, radio frequency inventory control equipment, electronic funds transfer equipment, and time accounting software.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Monitor sales activities to ensure that customers receive satisfactory service and quality goods.Customer and Personal Service
Confer with company officials to develop methods and procedures to increase sales, expand markets, and promote business.Administration and Management
Hire, train, and evaluate personnel in sales or marketing establishments, promoting or firing workers when appropriate.Management of Personnel Resources
Provide customer service by greeting and assisting customers, and responding to customer inquiries and complaints.Service Orientation
Assign employees to specific duties.Time Management
Instruct staff on how to handle difficult and complicated sales.Instructing
Direct and supervise employees engaged in sales, inventory-taking, reconciling cash receipts, or in performing services for customers.Oral Expression
Estimate consumer demand and determine the types and amounts of goods to be sold.Deductive Reasoning
Examine products purchased for resale or received for storage to assess the condition of each product or item.Problem Sensitivity
Plan and prepare work schedules and keep records of employees' work schedules and time cards.Judgment and Decision Making
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

A large portion of the Retail Supervisors and Managers’ day is spent on the sales floor, supervising employees or selling merchandise. Some of their time is spent in the office completing work schedules or merchandise orders.

Retail Supervisors and Managers work at least 40 hours a week. They sometimes work long irregular hours including evenings and weekends during special sale events, holidays, or inventory. Schedules are likely to be changed regularly. Retail Supervisors and Managers are also called in to work on short notice to substitute for employees who are unable to report to work.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Retail Supervisor or Manager will appeal to those who enjoy taking the initiative to start up and carry out projects. The Retail Supervisor or Manager occupation satisfies those with enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations often involve leading people and making many decisions that may require risk taking and often deals with business.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?


The median wage in 2016 for Retail Sales Supervisors in California is $39,454 annually, or $18.97 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Benefit packages vary from company to company. Many Retail Supervisors and Managers may expect to receive paid vacation, health insurance, 401k retirement plans, and employee discounts on personal purchases.

What is the Job Outlook?

Future employment opportunities for Retail Supervisors and Managers will be limited because retailers are hiring more sales staff and increasing the responsibilities of existing Retail Supervisors.

The trend of increased Internet sales and electronic commerce may reduce the number of sales workers and therefore reduce the need for additional Retail Supervisors and Managers. The majority of job openings will occur as Retail Supervisors and Managers promote into higher management positions, transfer to other occupations, or retire from the labor force.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Retail Sales Supervisors is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Retail Sales Supervisors are expected to increase by 5.6 percent, or 8,300 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Retail Sales Supervisors
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 830 new job openings per year is expected for Retail Sales Supervisors, plus an additional 3,310 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 4,140 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Retail Sales Supervisors
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Educational requirements vary widely from company to company. Some large employers may require Retail Store Managers to have an associate or bachelor’s degree along with retail experience. Many employers prefer to hire First-Line Supervisors with a high school diploma or equivalent. Large retail chains often offer company-sponsored formal management trainee programs that include classroom and on-site training.


Many Retail Supervisors and Managers learn the basics of merchandising, customer service, and company policies through work experience by beginning their careers on the sales floor as cashiers or customer service representatives. The amount and type of experience required will vary from company to company. Some larger companies prefer to hire employees with experience in “Big Box” large retail settings.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses in accounting, marketing, management, psychology, sociology, public speaking, and computer technology provide a helpful background for those pursing a career in Retail Supervision and Management. Also, part-time entry retail jobs provide valuable experience.

Continuing Education

Formal continuing education is not required for Retail Supervisors and Managers. However, it is a good idea for Supervisors and Managers to keep abreast of both technological and company policy changes. Larger retail companies offer training programs that cover all functions of the company’s operation.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Consumer Merchandising/Retailing Management, Retail and Retail Operations.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Retail Sales Supervisors are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Clothing Stores 10.1%
Building Material and Supplies Dealers 6.8%
Other General Merchandise Stores 6.2%
Health and Personal Care Stores 4.9%
Gasoline Stations 3.7%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Many schools operate placement centers for their students. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers and trade publications.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Retail Sales Supervisors.

  • Building Materials
  • Clothes & Apparel
  • Department Stores
  • Employment Agencies
  • Grocers & Markets-Retail
  • Health & Diet Food Products-Retail
  • Jewelers-Retail
  • Medical Equipment & Supplies
  • Sales Training
  • Shopping Centers & Malls
  • Shopping Service

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

In many retail establishments, managers are promoted from within the company. In small retail establishments, where the number of positions is limited, advancement to a higher management position may come slowly. Large establishments often have extensive career ladder programs and may offer supervisors the opportunity to transfer to another store in the chain or to a central office. Some managers may need to relocate every few years in order to advance. Retail Supervisors may also advance to positions in advertising, marketing, promotions, and public relations. They may also become purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Retail Sales Supervisors with links to more information.

Financial ManagersGuide
Food Service ManagersGuide
Lodging ManagersProfile
Medical and Health Services ManagersGuide
Human Resources SpecialistsGuide
Property, Real Estate, and Community Association ManagersGuide
Purchasing ManagersProfile
Sales ManagersGuide

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification41-1011
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers41-1011.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ECS
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Floriculture/Floristry Operations and Management 010608
   E-Commerce/Electronic Commerce 520208
   Retail Management 520212
   Retailing and Retail Operations 521803
   Selling Skills and Sales Operations 521804
   General Merchandising, Sales, & Related Marketing Operations521899
   Business, Management, Marketing, & Related Support Services529999
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Floriculture /Floristry010920
   Retail Store Operations and Management050650
   Sales and Salesmanship050940
   E-Commerce (business emphasis)050970
   Other Business and Management059900
   E-Commerce (technology emphasis)070910