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The Future of Sales and related occupations: Job Outlook 2008-2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.

Below are excepts from The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-2011 Edition) for "Sales and related occupations" and includes the following topics:
  • Nature of the Work
  • Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
  • Employment
  • Job Outlook
  • Projections
  • Earnings
  • Wages
  • Related Occupations
  • Sources of Additional Information
Advertising sales agents - Employment of advertising sales agents is expected to increase by 7 percent from 2008 to 2018. Employment is projected to increase about as fast as average. Growth in new media outlets, such as the Internet, will be partially offset by a decline in print media. Applicants who have sales experience and a college degree should have the best opportunities, but keen competition for jobs is expected during downturns in advertising spending.

Cashiers - Employment of cashiers is expected to grow by 4 percent between 2008 and 2018. Cashiers are expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations. Opportunities for full-time and part-time jobs are expected to be good because of the need to replace the large number of workers who leave this occupation.

Demonstrators and product promoters - Demonstrators and product promoters are expected to experience 7 percent growth between 2008 and 2018. Employment of demonstrators and product promoters is expected to grow as fast as average for all occupations through 2018. Job openings should be plentiful over the next decade.

Insurance sales agents - Employment of insurance sales agents is expected to increase by 12 percent over the 2008–18 period. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations. Opportunities will be best for college graduates who have sales ability, excellent interpersonal skills, and expertise in a wide range of insurance and financial services.

Models - Employment of models is expected to grow by 16 percent between 2008 and 2018. Employment of models is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2018. Nonetheless, models should face keen competition for a small number of openings.

Real estate brokers and sales agents - Employment of real estate brokers and sales agents is expected to grow 14 percent during the 2008-18 decade. Employment of real estate brokers and agents is expected to grow faster than average. Beginning agents and brokers, however, will face competition from their well-established, more experienced counterparts.

Retail salespersons - Employment of retail salespersons is expected to grow by 8 percent over the 2008–18 decade. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as average. Due to the frequency with which people leave this occupation, job opportunities are expected to be good.

Sales engineers - Employment of sales engineers is expected to grow by 9 percent between 2008 and 2018. Job growth for sales engineers is projected to be about as fast as average, and competition for jobs is expected.

Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing - Employment of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, is expected to grow by 7 percent between 2008 and 2018. Job growth is expected to be about as fast as average. Job prospects will be best for those with a college degree, the appropriate technical expertise, and the personal traits necessary for successful selling.

Sales worker supervisors - Employment of sales worker supervisors is expected to grow by 5 percent between 2008 and 2018. Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average. Competition for jobs is expected; applicants with a college degree or sales experience should have the best opportunities.

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents - Employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents is expected to grow 9 percent during the 2008-18 decade. Employment is projected to about as fast as the average. Keen competition is expected as the number of applicants will continue to far exceed the number of job openings in this high-paying occupation.

Travel agents - Employment of travel agents is expected to decline by 1 percent over the 2008–18 period. Little or no change in employment is expected over the 2008–18 period. Applicants with formal training should have the best opportunities to get a job as a travel agent. Travel agents who specialize in specific destinations or in certain types of travel or travelers should have the best chance for success.

SPECIAL NOTE: The analysis underlying BLS employment projections uses currently available information to focus on long-term structural changes in the economy. The 2008-18 projections assume a full-employment economy in 2018. The impact of the recent recession, which began in December of 2007, on long-term structural changes in the economy will not be fully known until some point during or after the recovery. Because the 2008 starting point is a recession year, the projected growth to an assumed full-employment economy in 2018 will generally be stronger than if the starting point were not a recession year. - by Jeff Blackwell
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