Empowering the Freelance Economy

Why Tesco is becoming a Tech Titan and creating thousands of jobs worldwide

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In April, Tesco became the first retailer in the UK to fulfil one million online grocery orders in a week. Tesco now serves nearly 1.5m customers a week online, up from around 600,000 at the start of the pandemic. By shifting the majority of business online, it took a team of techies to make that happen.

Before the pandemic, around 9% of Tesco’s sales were online. The figure is now more than 16% of sales, with Tesco expecting online sales of over £5.5bn this year, up from £3.3bn last year. The Tesco Tech team is also working to provide these solutions for its customers and colleagues in Asia, Central Europe and Ireland.

Recruitment drive called for stronger infrastructure

“Since April Tesco’s rapid recruitment drive demanded more [IT] infrastructure to support increased traffic to its careers website (185,000 hits in the first week; over 1 million in total) and increased capacity of our systems to onboard 20,000 new colleagues in one week,” said Tesco.

In total, the grocery chain recruited around 50,000 new colleagues who assisted in stores, fulfilling orders and driving deliveries to its customers’ homes.

The company, however, is also hiring to develop its technology side of the business to meet increased online demand, which is paramount to its current success. Current roles can be found here.

To learn more about how the Tesco Tech team helped Tesco beat a few retailing records, check out this case study.

From temp to perm: 16K new permanent roles

Tesco announced this week that it will create 16,000 new permanent roles to support the exceptional growth in its online business. As the supermarket’s online business continues to grow, the number of new roles may increase further in the coming months, the grocery chain said in a statement.

These 16,000 jobs are in addition to the 4,000 permanent jobs already created since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The supermarket expects the majority of these roles to be filled by colleagues who joined on a temporary basis at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but who now want to stay with the business permanently. Roles will first be offered to these temporary colleagues, with remaining vacancies then recruited externally.

The roles will include 10,000 pickers to assemble customer orders and 3,000 drivers to deliver them, plus a variety of other roles in stores and distribution centres.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, our colleagues have helped us to more than double our online capacity, safely serving nearly 1.5 million customers every week and prioritising vulnerable customers to ensure they get the food they need. These new roles will help us continue to meet online demand for the long term, and will create permanent employment opportunities for 16,000 people across the UK.”

Kickstart & other recruitment schemes

Recruitment across other Tesco business areas continues as normal. While details are still being finalised, Tesco plans to support the government’s Kickstart scheme and expects to offer places to 1,000 young people once the scheme launches.

The supermarket will also continue to run its apprenticeships and programmes aimed at bringing in school leavers and graduates, with more than 80 young people set to join schemes across stores, distribution centres and offices next month. Almost 50 students also joined Tesco’s summer internship programme this year, which ran as planned and was delivered virtually.

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