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Checkout operator

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Checkout operators serve customers at tills in supermarkets and large retail stores.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £11,500 to £17,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but you’ll need numeracy and communication skills. You'll need to be aged 18 or over to sell alcohol and other restricted goods.

Some employers may ask for GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, or equivalent.

Experience of handling cash and serving customers would be helpful.

You could do a college course in retail, but this isn't essential.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • a polite and friendly manner
  • the ability to use computerised tills, barcode scanners and electronic payment systems
  • maths skills
  • the ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • scanning items for customers
  • weighing and pricing items like fruit and vegetables
  • using special tools to remove security tags
  • checking customers' ages for restrictions on items like alcohol
  • packing and wrapping purchases
  • processing store loyalty cards, coupons and vouchers
  • taking payments and making sure the till balances at the end of the day
You’ll need to work quickly so that customers in the queue don’t have to wait too long.

You may spend time away from the till, filling shelves, checking stock or working on a customer service desk.

4. Salary

Starter: £11,500 to £16,000

Experienced: £17,000 (supervisor)

You may receive benefits like staff discounts, bonuses or cheaper canteen meals.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 38 to 40 hours a week as a full-time checkout operator, including evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Part-time and shift work is often available. 

You may need your own transport as many large retail stores are in out-of-town locations.

You’ll be expected to look smart and will usually be provided with a uniform.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.

Larger companies are likely to offer you more chance of promotion.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018