Aisles Of Opportunity

By J&C Team

You do your shopping at the supermarket, but have you considered a career in one? There are many roles available, from customer service to management

For every pound consumers spend, more than 50p ends up in a supermarket till. Competition for this spending power is fierce between the different supermarkets, all battling to win the war over Britons’ increasingly pinched purses.

Supermarkets in the UK employ more than 3.4 million people, and the UK grocery market was worth more than £179billion in the year up to April 2016.

Many of these employees are attracted to the plentiful opportunities and flexible working hours offered.

Working for a supermarket may not sound like the most glamorous career choice, but it’s a solid one that offers plenty of opportunities and room for growth. With new stores opening around the country, there are opportunities to get in on the shop floor and work your way up. But it’s not all shelf stacking and staffing the checkouts – there’s a vast range of roles within the sector, from Store Assistants to Managers, manufacturing to finance, and logistics to working in human resources.

There are good graduate schemes too, which can lead to managing a multi-million-pound business within four years.

There are also set routes for training and progression. Most supermarkets like to promote from within, so will invest money in training if they see potential.

Supermarket roles are some of the best for flexible working, with plenty of part-time roles and shift work allowing employees to study, look after their families or pursue hobbies outside of work.

In store

These are the frontline jobs, so customer service skills are essential, whether you’re working on the tills or managing a team of staff. In-store roles include Counter Assistant, Customer Service Assistant, Product Controller, Administrator and Team Leader. Some supermarkets also employ skilled Bakers and Butchers.

Shift work is common – day and night, throughout the week and at weekends – so parents in particular can fit their hours around childcare. There are also opportunities to be promoted to Team Leader and then on to management roles, progressing to become a Department Manager looking after a team, then to Deputy Store Manager and Store Manager.

Graduate schemes

Supermarkets want the best graduates for their schemes and, once you are in place, you will be given full training and work experience so you can work your way up the management ladder.

Programmes run across the business, from distribution to retail management, e-commerce to finance. Gaining a degree of experience on the shop floor before you apply will stand you in good stead, as will a ‘can do’ attitude and the ability to use your initiative.

Head Office

This is where a supermarket’s ‘big picture’ work happens, and career opportunities are plentiful in areas including finance, IT, marketing, merchandising, personnel, training, property and development for new stores around the country.

Many supermarkets have expanded into the financial sector and this also offers job opportunities, including in insurance and credit cards. There are also important public relations roles, as building up the reputation of the supermarket brand in the eye of the public is vital for business.


This is the intricate process of getting the right amount of goods from their source to stores all around the country with the minimum of fuss. Jobs in this sector include working in warehouses, as a Driver or as an Administrator. From fresh and frozen foods to non-food items, there are thousands of products that need to be shifted from one place to another every day. This has to be done in the safest and most efficient way to minimise wastage.

There are also many management roles in this sector, including Transport Shift Manager, Warehouse Shift Manager and Operations Manager, so there’s plenty of scope for promotion and progression.

Online retailing

As supermarkets have seen a drop in footfall in recent years, the online grocery shopping market – e-commerce – is on the up. According to the retail research and training charity IGD, online grocery sales are set to double over the next five years, accounting for more than £11billion, – around 6% of total UK grocery sales.

There are many career opportunities in this sector, and this is likely to rise in the coming years. Roles within e-commerce include Writers for product descriptions, blogs and social media content, Customer Service Advisers, Marketing Managers
and Web Developers.

what salary can I earn?
Your pay packet will vary depending on the supermarket, the location, the hours worked and the size of the department or store, but here are some approximate annual full-time salaries…

SALES ASSISTANT  From £11,000   
Delivery dRIVER  £13,000
WAREHOUSE assistant  £14,000
team leader  £16,000
DEPT MANAGER  £18,000-£25,000
HGV dRIVER  £27,000
STORE MANAGER  £30,000-£60,000
ONLINE RETAIL manager  £35,000
HR manager  £40,000
IT project manager  £42,000
AREA manager  £50,000-£80,000