Supermarket trolley on aisle

The Supermarket Sector: Shop for a career that’s right for you

About the supermarket sector

The ‘big four’ supermarket companies in the United Kingdom have long controlled the supermarket industry. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons account for over two-thirds of the total grocery retail market which had a value of over 200 billion pounds in 2020. During which, supermarkets were the most popular form of shopping. 

Whilst these major four companies continue to dominate the industry, the retail market in the UK is undergoing a huge shift that is affecting how companies operate and sell. Retailers in every sector are being forced to change in order to survive and prosper as a result of changing consumer demographics and lifestyles.

Changes in the industry

The popularity among customers to shop for better value products is a trend that is not expected to fade away very soon, as a result of political and economic uncertainty. The ‘big four’ have been forced to adjust how they operate and change their offerings due to the surge in popularity of discounters supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl. 

Changes in technology are also having a big impact on the industry. As technology develops on an almost daily basis, supermarkets must modify their offerings to meet the demands of consumers in terms of convenience, simplicity of use, and experience.

The size and importance of the supermarket industry, coupled with these ongoing changes, means that it has become increasingly important for supermarkets to employ the right people for each role. The changing landscape of the industry also means existing roles in the industry are evolving and new positions within the industry are also appearing. In 2021, there were over 1 million jobs in the supermarket industry with an average salary of nearly £18,000.

Family at the supermarket

Roles in the industry

If you want to start your career in a supermarket after you leave school or college, then were are great employment opportunities available. The top 3 jobs in the supermarket industry are sales assistants, cashiers and shelf fillers, with over 500,000 jobs in the UK in 2021 in these areas. 

Even if you’re looking for a part-time job, working in a supermarket can really bolster your skills, from working at the checkout which requires numeracy abilities, effective timekeeping, the ability to interact with the public and deal with potentially challenging situations. All of which will look fantastic on your CV, whether you want to stay in-store and climb the career ladder or go on to anything new.

What jobs are available in the retail and supermarket industry?

There are a wide range of careers within supermarkets, from store workers up to management level, finance, business, buyers and merchandisers. There is also a whole host of careers you might not have even thought about! For example, most supermarkets have a website, which could see you working within IT departments, running marketing campaigns, working within website design or content. Not just this, but stores also need people to monitor security, drivers to deliver orders to customers, manufacturers to run product lines plus much more!

The career choices are virtually limitless, and no matter what you would like to do, there are likely supermarket employment and prospects to match! To name a few:

Stores: You could be serving customers, processing payments, stocking shelves, ensuring the sales floor has enough stock and helping customers with their queries. No two days will be the same, you’ll constantly be meeting new people, from all walks of life.

Managers: Interacting with employees and consumers on the shop floor, store managers are at the forefront of the retail industry. You would be in charge of fulfilling sales targets, verifying stock levels, assuring excellent customer service, and monitoring employee performance.

Buying and merchandising: Buyers are in charge of choosing and purchasing new product lines that are appropriate for the store’s clientele. You might purchase for a whole department, store, or chain. Checking to see if things are doing well and bringing in new lines that will be popular and set your store apart from the competition is among your responsibilities.

Merchandisers guarantee that their departments meet sales targets and earn a profit by planning promotional events and determining the most efficient ways to purchase the proper amount of inventory. Based on how things are selling, you can forecast which products will be the greatest sellers, which lines you should purchase in the future, and how much money your department will generate in the coming months.

Logistics: Working in logistics could see you unloading, checking, transporting, loading, picking plus much more. You may also operate machinery like fork life trucks, large and light goods vehicles.

Technology: Working in technology at the supermarket can see you immersed in a range of projects from voice recognition to app and web development, data insights and analytics, robotics, image recognition and in store experience technology.

There are a wide range of employers that operate in this sector including: Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Lidl, Aldi  and more!

Pathways into a supermarket career

There are a wide range of pathways that will kick-start your supermarket career. Let’s explore your options below. Remember, that these aren’t a requirement and will vary depending on what job role you would like to work in at a supermarket.

A Levels 

  • Accounting 
  • Business
  • IT

T Levels

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • Management and Administration

University Degree

  • Retail Manager
  • Business Management (Retail)
  • Retail Marketing
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Buying and Merchandising
  • Logistics Management
  • Manufacturing
minion, banana, fruit

Apprenticeships

  • Stores
  • Technology 
  • Business
  • Finance
  • Corporate
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Driver 
  • Store management
  • Buying and merchandising

As you can see, there’s a whole wealth of different pathways that can be your stepping stone into a supermarket careers, depending on the job role you’re interested in. It really is an exciting and fast paced sector to be a part of!

The skills you’ll develop and gain to succeed

There are wide range of skills that you’ll develop and gain working within a supermarket. There include but are not limited to:

  • Customer service
  • Time management 
  • Interpersonal skills
  • The ability to take the initiative
  • Problem solving

Ready to kick-start your supermarket career?

 

*Data supplied by Emsi, a labor market data company: https://www.economicmodeling.com/ 

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