Tesco colleague

Tesco is set to create 16,000 new permanent roles to support the rapid growth of its online business.

The 16,000 jobs are in addition to the 4,000 permanent jobs already created since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and include 10,000 pickers to assemble customer orders and 3,000 drivers to deliver them, as well as a variety of other roles in stores and distribution centres.

The supermarket expects the majority of the roles to be filled by staff who joined on a temporary basis at the start of the 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 move comes after online sales jumped from nine per cent before the pandemic to 16 per cent now, with the retailer expecting online sales to rise from £3.3 billion last year to £5.5bn in 2020.

In April, Tesco became the first retailer to fulfil one million online grocery orders in a week, and the chain now serves nearly 1.5m customers a week online, up from around 600,000 at the start of the pandemic. Tesco said the number of new roles may increase even further in the coming months.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI chief executive, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, our colleagues have helped us to more than double our online capacity, safely serving nearly 1.5m 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.”

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

It 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.