Retail salespeople are one of the least happy careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, retail salespeople rate their career happiness 2.3 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 2% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy retail salespeople are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Postal service worker
2.4
$52k
Vehicle cleaner
2.4
$29k
Car salesman
2.4
$35k
Postal service clerk
2.3
$52k
Customer service representative
2.3
$37k
Retail salesperson
2.3
$29k
Insurance sales agent
2.3
$50k
Housekeeper
2.3
$29k
Stock clerk
2.2
$24k
Janitor
2.2
$30k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are retail salespeople happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do retail salespeople find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as retail salespeople?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are retail salesperson’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are retail salespeople making the best use of their abilities?

Are retail salespeople happy with their salary?

Retail salespeople rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.3/5. Most retail salespeople do not feel that their salaries adequately reflect their work, and are actively unhappy with their income.

We asked retail salespeople how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.3 out of 5 stars

18145 retail salespeople

5 Star
4%

4% of retail salespeople rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
14%

14% of retail salespeople rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of retail salespeople rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
27%

27% of retail salespeople rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
30%

30% of retail salespeople rated their compensation 1 stars

Do retail salespeople find their jobs meaningful?

On average, retail salespeople rate the meaningfulness of their work a 1.8/5. The majority of retail salespeople struggle to find any sort of meaning in their work, likely resulting in less satisfaction with the career overall.

We asked retail salespeople how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

1.8 out of 5 stars

18165 retail salespeople

5 Star
2%

2% of retail salespeople rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
5%

5% of retail salespeople rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
14%

14% of retail salespeople rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
28%

28% of retail salespeople rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
50%

50% of retail salespeople rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as retail salespeople?

Retail salespeople rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.3/5. The majority of retail salespeople find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked retail salespeople how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.3 out of 5 stars

19720 retail salespeople

5 Star
20%

20% of retail salespeople rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
31%

31% of retail salespeople rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of retail salespeople rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of retail salespeople rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
11%

11% of retail salespeople rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a retail salesperson’s work environment?

As a whole, retail salespeople rated their enjoyment of their work environment 2.8/5. Some retail salespeople are happy with their work environment, but it does not seem to be a meaningful contributer to career satisfaction for most.

We asked retail salespeople how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

2.8 out of 5 stars

19725 retail salespeople

5 Star
9%

9% of retail salespeople rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
22%

22% of retail salespeople rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
28%

28% of retail salespeople rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
24%

24% of retail salespeople rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
18%

18% of retail salespeople rated their work environment 1 stars

Are retail salespeople making the best use of their abilities?

Former retail salespeople on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 2.1/5. Most feel that their skills are being underutilized in the career, probably leading to more general dissatisfaction with being a retail salesperson.

We asked retail salespeople how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

2.1 out of 5 stars

19753 retail salespeople

5 Star
5%

5% of retail salespeople rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
9%

9% of retail salespeople rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
17%

17% of retail salespeople rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
30%

30% of retail salespeople rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
39%

39% of retail salespeople rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars