What is this career about?
Grocery store careers typically start out in the cashier position, but there are many more needs in each store. It’s a career for people that enjoy helping and interacting with others. Grocery stores stock food, of course, but there are other things here such as food storage, batteries, laundry supplies, and so on. Besides cashiers and store clerks, there are also many opportunities for other career paths. Many large grocery stores have their own bakeries, coffee shops, meat departments, and others, depending upon the needs of the local customers.
What growth is likely?
Right now, there are more than 850,000 grocery store cashiers in the United States. In total, there are over 3.4 million people working in grocery stores. This is a job that will always be in demand. Everyone eats, and grocery stores are the cheapest, most convenient place to get your food. As a result of this, there is a lot of room for growth within this career path. Great cashiers do not stay as cashiers for long, though. Because high quality workers are needed in other areas of each store, if you show that you are skilled at your job, there will be plenty of room for you to move up in the ranks. If you work in a large chain, management opportunities will eventually pop up if you stay with the company for long enough.
Cashiers start out at minimum wage, but positions in supervisory roles can make up to $20 an hour. If you land a role as a fulltime butcher, baker, or something similar, salaries per year range from $20,000 to $32,000.
One of the biggest benefits of working in a grocery store is that you are given an opportunity to refine your people skills. Even if you are not set on working in a grocery store for the rest of your life, this is a trait that will benefit you in any industry. If you do decide to stay in this business, many stores will offer benefits to workers such as 401(k), store discounts on certain items, health insurance, and life insurance. Grocery stores are a necessary part of our economy, and there are many reasons to keep experienced employees on board. This means that your management will be more likely to take care of you.
How to succeed?
Again, you do not need a high school diploma or a college degree to get a job in the grocery store business, but if you want to move up into a management or corporate role, this will be very helpful. Still, experience and determination will say a lot for you if you stay within a single store or company for an extended period of time.
First and foremost, you should have a flexible schedule and always show up on time for each shift you’re scheduled for. So many people lose their jobs because they are persistently late or don’t show up. By committing to avoid this right away, you are already giving yourself a huge advantage over other applicants.
Working within a grocery store necessitates great people skills, being a good listener, and working hard. Taking initiative, caring for customer needs, and being knowledgeable of where items are in your store are also key components of advancing within your company. Many stores have strict deployment policies, and this means paying attention to details. For example, if you are assigned to the bakery department, you need to specialize in this for the day, or however long you are assigned here. You should be knowledgeable of the departments near you, but when you’re working in one area, it’s important that you are disciplined and stay there. This might seem simple, but it’s a task that many struggle with.
The biggest part of success in the grocery store business is being able to adapt to new ideas all while being positive and friendly. Change is inevitable in any business, but many stores are now experimenting with online orders and deliveries, and being open and receptive to new ideas can take you a long way in this business, especially if you are eager to learn and give your customers a great experience.
Who should apply?
This is a career that can begin when you are in high school, at least the age of 16. However, some locations will hire workers as young as 14 years old if they have a working permit. These start out at as part time jobs, but once you turn 18, there are plenty of full time opportunities. Having a high school diploma or a GED is very helpful in getting hired at a grocery store, but it’s certainly not a necessity. What’s most important with this is the fact that you enjoy working with people, you are able to follow directions, and you are ambitious and hard working. This goes for both privately owned smaller grocery stores, and the larger chains, both national and regional. Having retail experience can be helpful, but because this is a place where many people get their first taste of retail work, it’s certainly not a mandatory requisite for being hired.
Grocery stores have a lot of different career directions that you can follow. You can work as a cashier or shelf stocker, you can help with carts and assisting elderly people get their purchases to their cars, or you can be a supervisor or department manager. General management opportunities also exist, and having a business degree is helpful for attaining one of these. You will want at least some supervisory or management experience if you want to pursue this path.