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Coronavirus: Tesco to create 16,000 new permanent jobs

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
A long queue maintaining social distancing outside a Tesco supermarket in north London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
A long queue maintaining social distancing outside a Tesco supermarket in north London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

Tesco has announced that it will create 16,000 new permanent roles amid growth in its online business since coronavirus lockdowns took hold.

These 16,000 jobs are in addition to the 4,000 permanent jobs already created since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.

Supermarkets have been some of the winners of the coronavirus crisis, enjoying a surge in both online and in-person sales since Brits were forced to stay at home.

New roles will include 10,000 pickers — the people behind assembling customer orders, and 3,000 delivery drivers. There will be a variety of other roles in stores and distribution centres.

Many of these roles will be initially offered to temporary workers that joined the company during the pandemic, Tesco said, with the remaining recruitment going external.

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 ($7.2bn) this year, up from £3.3bn last year.

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.”

Supermarkets have enjoyed record growth in sales during lockdown, with the market expanding at its fastest rate since records began.

The supermarket sector grew by 16.9% between mid-April and mid-July, market research firm Kantar said, marking the fastest growth since Kantar began monitoring the industry in 1994.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 90,000 travel jobs axed or at risk as firms cry for help

Shoppers spent a record £31.6bn ($40bn) in the 12 weeks to 12 July, according to the research. Frozen food sales jumped by 22% as Brits stocked their freezers for lockdown and alcohol sales also rocketed.

Despite this surge, however, growth in the UK grocery market slowed over the past month. The easing of coronavirus restrictions has prompted shoppers to move towards normality.

Overall, the sector saw growth of 14.4% during the past twelve weeks, a slight decline on the same figure from July, according to Kantar.