Viable transitions for a shop assistant
This role is at high risk of automation and has been severely impacted by COVID-19. If a shop assistant needs to move jobs, there are 54 roles that they may wish to consider. These 'viable transitions' all involve similar skills and/or work activities to those required by a shop assistant.
Top viable transitions
These are the 15 viable transitions which require the most similar skills and/or work activities to those needed by a shop assistant.
All the roles are similar to a shop assistant, but a sales assistant is the closest. A car leasing agent is the least similar and may require more retraining or upskilling. Overall similarity can be decomposed into two components: work activities and skills.
Similarity of work activities
The work activities in the top viable transitions are all quite similar to those performed by a shop assistant. They include the likes of promoting, selling and purchasing.
Similarity of skills
Skill similarity varies and roles that are further to the left will likely require more retraining. The most transferable skills from a shop assistant's skillset include identifying customer needs, demonstrating products and processing payments.
More than similarity
There are a number of dimensions along which to compare these top viable transitions. These include the number of vacancies available in each position as well as their average levels of pay.
Average annual earnings
Rental service representatives have the highest average annual earnings whilst fuel retail sales workers have the lowest. Most of these jobs have higher average earnings than a shop assistant. However, these are just estimates and actual pay will vary.
There is no official data on vacancies by occupation. We can only show a rough estimate of total employment in each job. Sales assistants and specialised sellers are amongst the largest occupations. Next we compare the viable transitions by their exposure to risk.
Suitability for machine learning
Unfortunately, many of the top viable transitions contain tasks that would be suitable for machine learning. The work activities which ensured that these jobs were 'a good fit' are also highly automatable.
Viable transitions at lower risk of automation
Jobs that had high overall risk and few hard-to-automate tasks have been replaced by other viable transitions. These new roles are less similar to a shop assistant, but they are still viable transitions and their tasks are less suitable for machine learning. The new roles include merchandiser and shop manager.
Potential direct exposure to COVID-19
This metric is based on whether the job can be done remotely and whether it involves close interaction with people. While it can highlight jobs with potentially high exposure to COVID-19, it is still an experimental measure and appears to underestimate risk for hotel butlers and club hosts and it does not capture the indirect impact of COVID-19 on jobs.
Viable transitions at lower risk of COVID-19 and automation
Jobs that were judged to have high potential exposure to COVID-19 have been replaced with other viable transitions. These new roles are less similar to a shop assistant than the previous roles, but they are still viable and potentially have lower exposure to both COVID-19 and automation.
Acquiring a new skill
Upskilling will expand a worker's options. If a shop assistant begins to manage staff, then their viable transitions will widen to include office manager and advertising assistant.
Broadening career horizons
We have highlighted a couple of options that a shop assistant may wish to consider. Of course, moving jobs is not as simple as just selecting an occupation; there may be no vacancies in a worker's preferred role. Nevertheless, this type of tool can help to show workers the transferability of their skills and experiences, and it may act as a useful starting point when searching for a job.