10 Best Grocery Store Jobs

By Chris Kolmar - Mar. 11, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

The grocery store business was booming before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but even in the face of the severe economic impact that has caused many other businesses to suffer and even shut down, grocery stores are still growing and often rank in the top ten lists of places hiring new employees.

If you’re browsing the job market looking for a sustainable business that can weather a pandemic, you might consider setting your sights on a job at a grocery store. After all, even in a bad economy, people still need food, right?

Whether people are shopping for dinner or Christmas gifts, it’s a pretty safe bet that your job will be secure.

  1. Assistant Manager Jobs (Overview)

  2. Customer Service Representative Jobs (Overview)

  3. Food Preparation Worker Jobs (Overview)

  4. Butcher Jobs (Overview)

  5. Cashier Jobs (Overview)

  6. Stocker Jobs (Overview)

  7. Bagger Jobs (Overview)

Full-Time Jobs in a Grocery Store

Although grocery stores are well known for offering part-time employment in positions you’re well familiar with, such as baggers and cashiers, there are some full-time opportunities available as well.

Many of these jobs rank highly on the list of most exciting jobs for former store managers and former assistant managers.

  • Assistant manager
    Average Annual Salary: $41,000

    Grocery stores operate with a structural hierarchy just like other companies. Most stores have a store manager and an assistant manager, and depending on the size of the store, there are department managers that oversee each section of the grocery store.

    Pay varies widely depending on the role, store size, location, and other factors.

    Although it’s possible to get a job as a grocery store manager or assistant manager with a high school degree or GED, many employers expect a two-year or four-year degree, or several years of relevant work experience in a similar position.

    Retail management skills such as inventory control, vendor management, and product selection, as well as general management skills like working with a team, are necessary for this type of role.

    Find manager or assistant manager jobs near me

  • Customer service representative
    Average Annual Salary: $29,000

    Customer service reps at grocery stores are available to assist customers with returns, answer questions, direct customers to specific products, address complaints, and sell certain items that aren’t available in the aisles.

    It’s not uncommon for these workers to also help out as a cashier, stocker, or bagger if the store is short-staffed for the day. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, customer service representatives at grocery stores averaged $12.01 an hour in 2019.

    Find Customer service representative jobs near me

  • Food preparation worker
    Average Annual Salary: $17,000

    Food preparation workers are responsible for preparing the fresh food in various departments, including the deli counter if the grocery store has one.

    They prepare packaged foods, cut meat and cheese, mix ingredients, clean and sanitize the preparation space, and put together customer samples if applicable, especially around the holidays when people are happy to taste-test their favorite Christmas treat.

    This job can be fast-paced and requires clear communication and multitasking in addition to being able to handle a high volume of requests. The BLS shows that food preparation workers average an hourly wage of $12.72.

    Find Food preparation worker jobs near me

  • Butcher
    Average Annual Salary: $29,000

    Butchers are responsible for cutting, trimming, preparing, and packaging meat and poultry as well as handling special requests from customers.

    This type of job requires a combination of customer service skills and physical strength. Butchers often use dangerous equipment and may be exposed to cold temperatures.

    Many butchers learn on the job and start as assistants in a large meat department. No formal education is required. According to the BLS, butchers averaged $15.62 per hour with a median annual wage of $32,500 in 2019, although this rate does vary by state.

    Find Butcher jobs near me

  • Part-Time Jobs

    In addition to full-time work, grocery stores offer part-time opportunities as well, with some of these positions being available for either full-time or part-time shifts.

  • Cashier
    Average Annual Salary: $24,000

    Cashiers are responsible for scanning merchandise, processing coupons and payments, issuing receipts, and correctly completing transactions by counting money and giving back the appropriate change.

    They may also serve a customer service role and answer any questions that customers might have about products, policies, loyalty rewards, and other topics. These workers may be full-time or part-time employees.

    Customer service skills are important for this role, as are mathematical skills, product knowledge, and listening skills. The BLS reported that cashiers earn an average hourly rate of $12.01.

    Find Cashier jobs near me

  • Stocker
    Average Annual Salary: $28,000

    Stockers are responsible for moving items from storage in the back to the appropriate location on shelves when inventory is running low.

    They also price items, arrange product displays, refill shelves while ensuring that the products are all facing forward for customers to easily spot, and sometimes answer customer questions.

    This job can be physically demanding and often requires lifting heavy objects and standing for long periods. Stockers earn an average $13.33 hourly rate.

    Find Stocker jobs near me

  • Bagger
    Average Annual Salary: $33,000

    Baggers are responsible for loading products into bags and sometimes carrying bags out to a customer’s car in the parking lot.

    Like many front-end positions, baggers should be prepared to field any customer questions that may arise. Baggers usually earn less than cashiers and stockers and are much less likely to work full-time hours.

    Find Bagger jobs near me

  • What Is a Grocery Store?

    In the United States, a grocery store is often synonymous with a supermarket and convenience store, but there are some technical differences between the three.

    Grocery stores are small-to-medium-sized and tend to be fairly specialized in the items they sell.

    Most grocery stores carry both fresh and packaged food, dairy and frozen meals in a refrigerated section, over-the-counter medications, and basic household products such as paper towels, cleaning products, et cetera. Some grocery stores also have a deli counter.

    In comparison, supermarkets are large and offer many different choices besides basic food and household necessities. This can include a home and garden center, automotive department, cosmetics, clothing, a pharmacy, a floral department, small appliances, electronics, and an expansive meat and seafood department.

    A convenience store is smaller than the other two. It’s often connected to or part of a gas station and includes packaged foods, bottled and canned beverages, a fountain drink and coffee station, limited hot food such as pretzels and pizza, alcohol, and a sparse section for the most basic household items and knickknacks.

    Grocery stores and supermarkets are designed for longer shopping sprees when people need to purchase food and household products to stock up for everyday and special uses.

    Convenience stores are designed for people on the go who need no more than a handful of items, which is why grocery stores and supermarkets offer carts and baskets for shoppers while convenience stores do not.

    Challenges Grocery Stores and Workers Face

    While there is a certain degree of job security with a grocery store because the business provides an essential service in both good times and bad, there are challenges to the job. Some of the issues that grocery store employees may likely have to cope with include:

    • Hard work for little pay. In many cases, these jobs are physically demanding and provide poor compensation.

      It’s not uncommon for low-income jobs to have expensive healthcare insurance with a less comprehensive benefits package than higher-income jobs can offer. Also, many employers offer little or no paid time off or sick leave.

      Some employees find ways to compensate for low income by doing freelancing or performing short tasks online to earn extra spending money.

    • Poor work-life balance due to erratic schedules. Unpredictable scheduling makes it hard to plan normal life activities unless you request a specific day off.

      Anything from trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment to meeting a friend for lunch can be tricky when you don’t know what shifts or days you’ll be working in a few weeks.

      Retail-based jobs such as those in a grocery store are usually required to work weekends, holidays, and various shifts, so you may not know if you’ll be scheduled to come in at six in the morning or six at night, depending on the store’s hours.

    • Hazardous conditions. Some equipment in grocery stores, such as grinders, mixers, and saws in the meat department as well as forklifts and other machines in the back to move pallets and other heavy inventory, can mean hazardous working conditions in a grocery store.

      Besides, there is a risk of being exposed to COVID and other viruses and bacteria when dealing with the general public. This is something that people with compromised immune systems or physical ailments should carefully consider if they’re thinking about applying for a grocery store job.

    Final Thoughts

    A grocery store job may not be glamorous, but it can be a reliable source of income.

    This type of business can offer a short-term solution if you’re unemployed or if you’re a teenager looking for your first work experience, but it also offers long-term career opportunities for those who might be interested in one day heading a department and taking on a managerial role.

    You can expect a reasonable degree of job security when working in a grocery store. If applying for this type of job, be prepared for typical industry interview questions and make sure your resume has both hard and soft skills listed that are suitable to this line of work.

    Grocery stores are almost always hiring, so check your local area if you’ve been on the job hunt and need to find something quickly.

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    Chris Kolmar

    Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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