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Is Retail Considered a Blue-Collar Job?

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated December 17th, 2023

When we think about retail, we think about cashiers, stockers, and customer service associates.

But there are other positions as well like managers, buyers, and merchandisers.

This is why saying retail is blue collar may not be 100% accurate.

What’s a blue collar job exactly? Any job that requires manual and physical labor is considered blue-collar.

This is why, in most cases, retail jobs are considered blue collar. But, there are a few jobs in the industry that would fall under white-collar.

This article will explore some of the more common jobs in retail and which is considered blue or white collar.

What Retail Jobs Are Considered Blue Collar?

Retail offers a whole lot of different jobs that fall in all different collars.

Let’s cover some of the jobs that would more likely be considered blue-collar jobs. These are the jobs that would have more manual work than others in the industry.

  • Stockers – the employees who move boxes around and put product on the shelves.
  • Cashiers – many cashiers may do double duty as a cashier and a stocker, cleaner, or assist customers.
  • Sales Associate – getting products from the back, down from high displays, or lifting and bending may all be part of the job.
  • Drivers – these are the people that deliver the goods to the stores for the employees to put on the shelves.
  • Warehouse workers – while they may not be onsite at a retail store, they are still responsible for helping get product in the warehouse and back out to the stores that need them.
  • Visual merchandisers – creating displays means moving heavy shelves, mannequins, and product around.
  • Security guards – patrolling the store and catching the bad guys is a very physically demanding job.

What Retails Jobs Are Considered White Collar?

The jobs below are white-collar retail jobs as they may require more education and less manual labor.

  • Store managers – running the store usually requires long hours of paperwork, managing people, and desk work. Some managers may also do soma manual labor making them partially blue-collar as well, but for the most part it would be a white-collar career.
  • Buyers – someone has to choose what products the store should sell, these are the people that are always looking for products that customers will love to buy.
  • Marketing – creating ad campaigns and displays for products and services are some of the work marketing professionals do.

How Retail Fits into The Definition Of Blue Collar Jobs

Working in retail can be physically demanding, requiring long hours on your feet and constant movement.

While job automation is helping streamline certain tasks, such as inventory management and checkout processes, there are still numerous aspects that require manual labor.

One of the major physical demands in retail is the need to be constantly on your feet. Whether you’re stocking shelves or assisting customers, you need to be able to stand for extended periods.

This can lead to fatigue and discomfort over time.

In addition, lifting heavy objects is often required when restocking or rearranging merchandise.

Workplace safety is another important consideration in retail. With the constant movement and fast-paced nature of the job, there’s a higher risk of accidents and injuries.

Exploring A Career In Retail

If working in a world filled with customer service, products, and a fast-pace is your thing, retail may be a perfect calling.

You can choose to start at the bottom and work your way up in the customer service side of retail. This can mean starting as a cashier and working your way up to manager.

Alternatively, you can attend college and become a buyer, merchandiser, or play more of a managerial role in an office environment.

Retail Front Lines

Working on the front lines means you are the face customers see, not matter what job you are doing.

Retail professionals working on the front lines must possess effective communication skills, empathy, and problem-solving abilities to meet the diverse needs of customers.

To excel sales professional in retail, you will need to employ various sales techniques. You should be knowledgeable about the products being sold and be able to highlight their features and benefits.

Active listening is essential for understanding customer preferences and tailoring recommendations accordingly. Additionally, persuasive skills can help convince customers to make a purchase.

Customer service skills and sales techniques are critical for success in the retail industry. By engaging with customers effectively and employing data-driven strategies, retail professionals can provide exceptional service while maximizing sales opportunities. Developing these professional skills will enable individuals to thrive in this dynamic field.

Retail Back End

Back end retail jobs are often those that rarely come in contact with customers. These are the marketing managers, accountants, etc. that may work in the main office.

As a marketing professional you will use data-driven approaches to improve retail sales. This can mean analyzing customer buying patterns and trends to help optimize inventory management, pricing strategies, and promotional campaigns.

Retail professionals who can interpret data insights have a competitive advantage as they can make informed decisions that drive sales growth.

Buyers require a knack for finding trending products and understanding what their customer segment wants. It may require a lot of travel and stress when products do not sell!

Conclusion

Many may not agree that retails jobs are in fact blue-collar. But, when we look at the manual labor involved – it is pretty clear they are.

But, because of the opportunity for growth – a worker may start in a blue collar position and grow into a white collar position.

Overall, retail offers a lot of opportunity, especially for growth. So, if it is an industry that appeals to you – get out there and make it happen!


Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.