Sales Worker Supervisor

Sales worker supervisors, also known as sales managers or department managers, direct sales workers, such retail salespersons, cashiers, customer service representatives, stock clerks and order fillers, sales engineers, and wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives. They may be responsible for interviewing, hiring, and training, determining work schedules, and assigning duties to workers. They are also responsible for making sure customers are satisfied with the quality of service and goods. They answer customers’ questions, handle complaints, and sometimes oversee purchasing, budgeting, and accounting. In larger retail establishments, they are often responsible for setting policies, goals, and objectives for a single department, and coordinating that department with other departments. They may also review inventory and sales records, develop merchandising techniques, and coordinate promotions.

Job Skills

Sales worker supervisors should be the type of people who get along with all kinds of other people and communicate clearly. They must be able to motivate their employees, as well as organize and direct them. Employers look for individuals who have initiative, self-discipline, and sound judgment, and who are patient when dealing with impatient customers.


In 2002, sales worker supervisors earned a median annual salary of $29,700. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $18,380, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $55,810.

Training and Education

Sales worker supervisors come from a wide array of educational backgrounds. Some have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, social sciences, business, or management. Courses of study usually include accounting, marketing, management, and sales, as well as psychology, sociology, and communication. Almost all must have computer training, because of the computerized nature of cash registers and inventory control systems. A majority of national chains have formal training programs for new employees that last between 1 week and 1 year. For those who display exceptional leadership skills, advancement to assistant manager or manager positions is possible. Because of the limited number of positions, advancement may happen slowly in smaller retail stores. In larger establishments, advancement may be faster, but will often require workers to relocate every few years. Sales worker supervisors may also become advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers, or purchasing managers, buyers, or purchasing agents. Some with many years of experience open their own stores.


In 2002, sales worker supervisors held about 2.4 million jobs. 36% were self-employed. 43 % worked in the retail sector, with the largest employers being grocery stores, department stores, motor vehicle dealerships, and clothing and accessory stores.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of sales worker supervisors is expected to grow more slowly than the average. Increased responsibility, low job turnover, and the hiring of more sales staff are all factors that will limit job growth. However, new opportunities are being created by electronic commerce. Some firms are starting to hire Internet sales managers, and opportunities for those with Internet sales experience will be good. For the most part, employment growth for sales worker supervisors will follow the same pattern as the specific industry in which they work. The number of self-employed sales worker supervisors is expected to decline.