Tesco is recruiting for 16,000 permanent new roles, including 3,000 drivers, to cope with a massive surge in online shopping due to coronavirus.
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 £5.5 billion this year, up from £3.3bn last year.
In April, Tesco became the first retailer to fulfil one million online grocery orders in a week. It now serves nearly 1.5 million customers a week online, up from around 600,000 at the start of the pandemic.
The initial boost in demand seen in the first few weeks of the lockdown, resulted in the supermarket giant creating 4,000 permanent jobs, with its 5,000-plus Tesco.com delivery fleet stretched to the limit.
These 16,000 jobs are in addition to those roles already created since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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.
The supermarket expects the majority of these jobs to be filled by workers who joined on a temporary basis at the start of the pandemic, but who now want to stay with the business permanently. They will first be offered to these temporary employees, with remaining vacancies then recruited externally.
As the supermarket’s online business continues to grow, the number of new roles may increase further in the coming months, said Tesco.
Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO, explained: “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.”
While details are still being finalised, Tesco also 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.