Assistant manager job description

So you’ve worked in retail for a few years, done your time as a sales assistant, and while you enjoyed it, you’re looking for a little more from your career (not to mention a little more salary).

So what’s the next logical step? You sound like you might be ready to take on an assistant manager role.



So, what will I actually be doing?

Whether you want to work in the biggest store in town or a tiny local shop, your role as the assistant manager will always be the same; to provide support for the manager, cover for them when they aren’t there, and look after the staff. All these things work together to keep a happy store ticking over and running smoothly.

No two days are ever the same when the public are involved, but on a day-to-day basis as a retail assistant manager you’ll be looking after the following...

  • Making sure the shop floor runs smoothly 
  • Meet the store's monthly targets and handle budgets
  • Recruit and train staff 
  • Deal with any enquiries and complaints and monitor customer service
  • Serve customers as needed
  • Put together the rotas and shifts
  • Check that the products you sell are well displayed
  • Managing deliveries

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The finer details...

This is not a 9-5 job so if you dream of set hours then think again! A full-time retail assistant manager usually works between 35 and 40 hours per week and this will include some evenings and weekends. Sound bad? Well, the good thing about shift work is you can be more flexible (especially handy if you have a family at home or a hectic life) and then there's always the option to go part time...

Money, money, money

Starting salaries are between £15k and £25k per year; however, with experience and training senior store managers can earn up to £40k per year - cha ching! You may also get commission or bonuses if you and your team meet sales targets.

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The good points...

This job has loads of variety and plenty of responsibility. If you have a good team behind you then it can also be a lot of fun working together!

A great job for career progression, most companies now offer on-going training throughout your career, plus you’ll always be improving your management skills on the job. This will make it easier for you to enter more senior management roles in the future.

...and the bad

Any good at juggling? Retail assistant managers need to keep an eye on everything from customer service to deliveries. If it all comes crashing down, you’ll be first in the firing line!

And yes... The customer IS always right! 

Is there study involved?

Qualifications aren’t the most important thing in the world when it comes to any retail job, and a basic education is enough for this role (5 GCSE, grades A-C), but maths and IT tend to be looked for the most.

Want to really stand out? A Levels, a foundation degree in retail management, business or marketing and BTEC National Diplomas are starting to be increasingly looked for as well. Many of these qualifications include a work placement to give you a more practical experience.

If you’re already working in the retail industry, while these extra qualifications are helpful to have on the CV, your experience and passion for retail is likely to impress employers more, especially if you’re looking for promotion within your existing company.

To learn the relevant skills for the job, many of the larger stores will offer trainee manager positions in a training scheme (also available for graduates) so you can learn the ropes first in a less pressurized way.

If you’re looking to join retail for the first time (whether you have qualifications or not), it’s always good to start as a sales assistant or join as an apprentice and work your way up to any management role. This way you get a clear feel for the environment before you start bossing people around within it.

Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone

What next?

From a job as a retail assistant manager it's just a hop, skip and a jump to a regional manager job or even senior management right at the top of the career ladder.

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

If you've never managed before or have limited experience then you shouldn't be scared of taking the leap into a retail assistant manager job. What you DO need is the ability to lead and motivate people with a happy-go-lucky, go-get-em attitude! Sound familiar? Well, you will also need the following skills...

  • Good communicator 
  • Can work under pressure
  • Responsible
  • Able to deal with confidential matters (blabbermouths need not apply!)
  • Confident and enthusiastic


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