Supermarket Workers

Outlook

Employment Prospects

Employers

Nearly 2.7 million people work as wage and salary employees of grocery stores, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2018, there were about 38,307 supermarkets in the United States with a total of more than  $701 billion in sales for that year, according to Progressive Grocer magazine. Supermarkets are located across the nation, in towns and cities. Some are part of a large chain such as Kroger, Wal-Mart Superstores, and Safeway. Other stores are part of smaller chains or are independently owned.

Workers usually have more employment opportunities in cities and large towns where several stores are located. In smaller towns, only one or two stores may serve the area.

Starting Out

Groceries use walk-in applications, job drives, and newspaper ads to attract new employees. Some supermarket jobs require little education and pay a modest hourly rate, so there are often openings as workers move on to other positions or career fields. Dress neatly and have good manners when applying for supermarket jobs in person. Be prepared to fill out application materials at the office. Many of today's grocery managers started out as high school clerks or cashiers. It is possible to turn a part-time job into a full-time career.

Advancement Prospects

There are opportunities to advance to more specialized and better paying positions for those who are dedicated and hardworking. Supermarkets rely heavily on experienced workers, so while a college education might be helpful, it is certainly not required to advance in the field. Relevant experience and hard work are just as beneficial to advancement.

Tips for Entry

Visit the National Retail Federation's Retail Careers and Leadership Center (https://nrf.com/insights/careers-and-leadership) for job listings, information on retail education programs, an overview of retail career paths, and career advice.

Participate in retail-oriented internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your high school or college’s career services office. 

Become certified by the National Retail Federation's RISE Up Foundation (https://nrffoundation.org/riseup) in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards set by your industry.