3 minute read


Education and Training: High school diploma
Average Salary: $35,000
Job Outlook: Poor

A supervisor is a person who often works in sales and who may also be called a manager or a customer service manager. These people help with hiring and managing sales representatives, cashiers, stock people, and others for their respective employers. A supervisor is often required to hire, train, oversee, and fire these personnel, and they may also be required to keep staff records for future reference.

Besides overseeing staff, a sales supervisor may also be responsible for tracking inventory, ordering new inventory, and understanding what is selling and what is not. Whether or not these duties are part of a sales supervisor’s position will depend on the type of organization for which he or she works. Those at larger department stores are more likely to focus solely on supervising the staff, whereas those at smaller stores are more likely to deal with a wide and diverse series of responsibilities, which may also include customer service.

Education and Training Requirements

The level of education for most sales supervisors differs, depending on the hiring organization and the supervisor’s level of experience in sales. These individuals often work their way into their jobs from the regular sales staff, provided they show excellent leadership characteristics. Organizations who are hiring outside staff are beginning to require at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in sales, management, or a related field.

Although a bachelor’s or associate’s can certainly be helpful with gaining this job, on the job training and real world experience is perhaps even more essential for most sales supervisors. Most companies will train their supervisors on the job, and many also require a certain amount of seminar or classroom style training through a company’s centralized training location.

Getting the Job

A sales supervisor is often hired out of a lower level sales position, though many can get jobs by applying directly to a new company, provided they have the right amount of experience and education.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Sales supervisor jobs are expected to grow at a slower than average rate, and the job availability will depend partly on the economy. This can be a fairly competitive field, so those who set themselves apart with college degrees are more likely to find satisfactory sales supervisor positions.

Sales supervisors often move through the ranks of sales management and may end up in charge of very large operations in management-level positions. In some smaller organizations, sales supervisors can go on to become vice presidents of management and to take on higher and higher roles in the company.

Working Conditions and Environment

Sales supervisors typically have offices in the stores for which they work. They normally split their days between working out of the office on paperwork and phone calls and working on the actual sales floor, overseeing employees or actively taking part in sales.

Work schedules are variable in this industry, though most supervisors work at least a full forty hour week. During major holidays and sales, supervisors may work well over forty hours a week, though these hours may come with the benefit of overtime pay. Supervisors may work odd shifts, depending on the opening hours of their stores.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary of a sales supervisor is about $35,000 per year, though salaries can range from $27,500 to over $62,000 per year. Supervisors at department stores make, on average, the least amount per year, while those in building materials and supplies make the most.

These full time jobs typically come with health care benefits, as well as paid time off. Time of may be restricted according to a store’s busiest times of the year.

Where to Go for More Information

National Retail Federation
325 7th St. NE, Ste. 1100
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 783-7971

Sales and Marketing Executives International, Inc.
33771 George Ferguson Way
Abbotsford, BC V2S 2M5
(312) 893-0751

The Sales Management Association
1440 Dutch Valley Pl. NE, Ste. 990
Atlanta, GA 30324
(404) 963-7992

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness