Tesco has grown to be the fourth largest retail company in the world with only Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Metro exceeding its current turnover of just over £60m. They now have stores in 14 different countries including on the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. In total, Tesco has 4,800 stores of which 2,500 are in the UK. The biggest stores are in China and Malaysia where the average floor area is three-quarters of a hectare. It is also one of the FTSE 100 companies.
Started in 1919 by Jack Cohen, the iconic name is merely an amalgamation of his surname and that of a supplier, T E Stockwell. Since then it has expanded and diversified and now offers banking, clothing, electronics, financial services, home entertainment, home furnishings, insurance, internet services and software.
Naturally, Tesco, is a major recruiter but what can it offer? We investigated its website and looked at what a career with Tesco can provide for the jobseeker.
Like many of the major corporations, Tesco keeps the recruitment arm of its website separate from the main groceries and retail part. If you are looking for work, go to http://www.tesco-careers.com
So do you measure up? According to the Tesco careers website, they are looking for the following attributes in their staff. You must be:
1. Passionate about retail
2. Focused on the customer and prepare to strive to understand them better than anyone
3. Driven to achieve results through determination and commitment
4. Committed to treating people in a fair and consistent way
5. Willing to roll your sleeves up to get things done
6. Determined to respond energetically to customer feedback
7. Motivated to work in partnership with others to achieve individual and team objectives
8. Adaptable and flexible to thrive in a 24/7 business
9.Devoted to seeking feedback on your performance and investing time in your own development
The staff development programmes cater for 7,000 employees at a time and this allows up to 10,000 workers a year to change jobs within the company.
Tesco promises its employees that they will be:
Treated with trust and respect
Given a manager who helps
Placed in an interesting job
Offered an opportunity to get on
It also claims to encourage workers to be ambitious and to work in different situations within the company. They run a campaign called ‘Every Little Helps’ (a bit confusing since their television retailing slogan was the same). Trainees are offered something called the Options Development Programme or they can choose to train for an apprenticeship or, alternatively, study for a qualification whilst at work.
Managers are also required to implement a scheme called ‘Talent Planning’ whereby annually they discuss with each worker their situation and where they would like their career to take them. As a consequence of this and other incentives, over 80% of management jobs are filled internally. In fact the current Chief Executive started out as a management trainee in 1979.
Tesco is very sold on the egalitarian concept with all managers required to participate in their TWIST (Tesco Week In Store Training) each year whereby they are obliged to ‘have a go’ at every task from working in ‘goods in’ on the night shift to sitting at a cash register and dealing face-to-face with the public.
Aided by their own wide diversification of corporate activities, Tesco is able to operate a whole host of internally-based incentive and benefit schemes for its employees.
Summarised, the main benefits of working for Tesco are:
1. After 12 months of employment, staff are awarded a Privilegecard which gives them a 10% discount and Clubcard points on most Tesco products
2. Eligible staff have access to exclusive staff discounts with Tesco Personal Finance and Tesco Telecoms
3. Free shares are given to everyone who has completed 12 months of service by the end of Tesco’s financial year (February). NB shares are held in trust for 5 years, and can be taken tax-free after then.
4. Profit-related bonus based on salaries (Tesco’s own profit is about 5% after tax)
5. Staff with 12 months of service get the option, each year in October, to save up to £50 every 4 weeks for either 3 or 5 years and receive a tax-free bonus at the end
6. Savings and bonuses can be used to buy Tesco shares at up to 20% less than the market price
7. After 3 months of employment, staff can buy Tesco shares at the full market price but save the equivalent in tax and National Insurance. After 5 years, there are further tax advantages
8. Staff pension and in-house life assurance schemes
9. Discounts on theme parks, holidays and gym membership and other special offers from time to time
10. Discounted rates for staff on health cash plans, dental cover and private medical insurance
11. Childcare vouchers provided
12. Time off work for a career break or extended holiday
The Application Process
In order to apply, it is necessary to register with the website and formally log in. At first glance, it is not entirely obvious how one goes about this but, on the right hand side of the page there is a small blue link entitled, ‘Find out about working in store’. Clicking on that leads to http://stores.tesco-careers.com/
The site advises that, after an application has been submitted and reviewed, promising candidates are invited to attend an interview and, also, to ‘have a go’ at working on the shop floor in a Tesco store. This gives would-be employees an opportunity to assess their level of aptitude for their chosen career.
Tesco promises to let interviewees know the outcome of their application within 10 days of the interview.
There is a job search facility but it is clear that many vacancies are not posted. This is one black mark against an otherwise very good and informative site.
“Some stores maybe (sic) recruiting online, please click on ‘Job Search’ to see if your store is recruiting online, otherwise ask instore (sic) for more information on their current vacancies.”
In other words, you don’t know whether there are no jobs or whether no-one’s bothered displaying them online. Two spelling mistakes don’t serve to impress, either.
CV’s are not accepted and all applications must either be submitted online using the site’s form pages or by visiting a store and discussing application requirements with the personnel department there.
Clicking the ‘Job Search’ link takes you to http://stores.tesco-careers.com/jobsearch.cfm
From an inspection, it does seem that most jobs are not posted (like many other similar sites). For example, there appears to be only one ‘nights’ job in the whole of the UK!
Another black mark goes for the dearth of information about each job. The majority of the text is standardised and thus is the same irrespective of the nature of the post. Is this the voice of Tesco’s egalitarian directorship or is it just plain old-fashioned sloppiness?
Needless to say, salaries are not displayed so, once again, the applicant is being asked to submit their details for a post that pays an indeterminate wage. No doubt these are at least comparable to those offered by its competitors but it would be helpful to know or, at least, get some approximate indication. The number of days that can be taken as paid holidays is also noticeable for its absence.
The First Day
A new employee’s first day working for Tesco’s is spent on an induction course that teaches them the store’s ethics, values and rules. It goes on to promise that both the manager and the other employees will participate in the in-house training and afford support through the initial phase of getting to know the job.
Tesco provides an opportunity for a jobseeker to join a company that regularly makes a profit (therefore offering stability and security) as well as suggesting many routes for promotion and career advancement. Without doubt, there is plenty of scope for individual advancement and the snobbery that occurs in many companies with ‘blue collar versus white collar’ scenarios is very definitely unwelcome at Tesco.
Changing jobs within the company is commonplace so there is no social stigma to employees who want to try their hand at different roles – in fact, it is actively encouraged.
There is also a chance to transfer to an overseas store and experience a completely different lifestyle; all with the security of being employed by one of the UK’s largest employers.
Fringe benefits are generous – and not just for the higher echelons of management – although these rewards only really kick in after more than 12 months of service. Employees are strongly encouraged to buy company shares and, thus, acquire a vested interest in the well-being of their employer. Going on the history of Tesco shares (TSCO on the London Stock Exchange), dividends have tripled in the last ten years and the share price itself has risen from £3.26 on 15 December 2005 to £4.28 today. An increase of 31%.
The website is very informative and there is a host of information about the company and what is on offer if you join Tesco’s. Unfortunately the facility for searching for jobs and the specific post details provided are lacking in basic details.
A bit of managerial organisation and some data entry would make the site truly stand out and, in doing so, better live up to the ethos that Tesco promotes.