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UK Supermarkets Hiring Thousands Due To Coronavirus Crisis

21 Mar 2020

UK Supermarkets Hiring Thousands Due To Coronavirus Crisis

UK supermarkets are hiring in their thousands in order to cope with a surge in shopping demand and panic buying due to the coronavirus crisis.

With lots of other traditional student jobs in retail and hospitality industries drying up, supermarkets are emerging as one of the best alternatives for young people at college or university to still earn money in the current climate.

Many students and other jobseekers are reporting that they’ve managed to start a new supermarket job within just a few hours of making an application.

Supermarket chains who are currently boosting their ranks right now include Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco.

However, the unprecedented recruitment drive has led to some of the grocers’ careers websites crashing over the last 24 hours.

At the time of writing, the major chains are advertising around 45,000 vacancies in their stores. It appears that approximately 1 in 3 of the jobs are definitely temporary opportunities but thousands more could become permanent roles.

So, who is hiring? And how many jobs are on offer at the UK’s biggest supermarket chains during the COVID-19 outbreak?


In the wake of Coronavirus, Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, is looking for a massive 20,000 temporary staff to help them out for at least three months.

University student Tracy Landu has managed to land a job at Tesco within just three hours of making an application.

She said: “I applied for a role at Tesco at 7pm and they called me at 10pm to work tomorrow. I applied online to one of the supermarket assistant roles titled 'immediate start' and to the store nearest to my home. Application process was really quick, just personal details, education and past experience.”

Taking to Twitter, Ms Landu said: “If you're finding yourself in a compromising job situation, don't hesitate to apply. There's no shame in your hustle and we're all trying to make a living out here.”

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “With the COVID-19 situation evolving every day, and unprecedented high demand, we urgently need to recruit extra temporary in-store colleagues. Working in our stores, you’ll play a key role in keeping our shelves stocked, helping our customers get what they need during this challenging time.”


Morrisons are looking to recruit 3,500 new staff, mainly to help them with their home delivery services. You can find out more about those jobs in our news article from earlier this week.


Asda needs to recruit 5,000 new staff asap to help them cope with their own surge in t demand.

Alluding to the unprecedented times we are experiencing, the chief executive of Asda, Roger Burnley said: “Never in my 30 years in retail have I ever felt so keenly the role played by supermarkets in our communities. During these difficult times everyone has to work together to help people most affected by COVID-19, and Asda is pleased to play its part.”

“That is why we have committed to hiring more than 5,000 employees who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and have been left with deep concerns about their household budgets,” added Mr Burnley.


German discount chain Aldi is another store which is fast-tracking recruitment during the Coronavirus crisis. They say they are now interviewing and processing applications on the same day - and some new recruits are starting work within hours.

They also say that 4 in 9 of the 9,000 current vacancies they are scrambling to fill within their distribution centres and stores will be permanent positions once we are through the pandemic.

Announcing their recruitment own drive, the director of recruitment at Aldi, Kelly Stokes said: "We want to keep supporting our local communities through these uncertain times, with access to groceries and wages to keep their families going, and we feel we're in a position to be able to do so through the creation of these new roles.”

“We have a huge number of roles to fill across the business so we're encouraging everyone who has been affected by COVID-19's impact on the economy to explore our available roles and see if we can get you back into work,” added Ms Stokes.


Co-op supermarket is also looking for 5,000 new people to join their family during the outbreak. They say the roles are mainly to help out local communities who have lost hospitality jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The UK’s sixth biggest grocer is creating an average of around 2 new temporary positions at its 2,500 stores but believes that some employees could be made permanent at some point in the future.

The chief executive of Co-op Food, Jo Whitfield, said: "The Co-op has a critical role to play in supporting our members, customers and colleagues, as well as the local communities that our stores sit at the heart of. Whilst our store and depot colleagues are working around the clock to ensure people have the essentials they need, we are all too aware that many people working in bars, pubs and restaurants are currently out of work.”

“It makes perfect sense for us to try and temporarily absorb part of this highly skilled and talented workforce who are so adept at delivering great customer service, as we work together to feed the nation. We're talking to a large number of organisations whose workforces have been affected by this situation.”

“To anyone in this position who is looking for a job in one of our stores, our message is simple. Please get in touch now. We've made the application process quicker than ever and hope to have new colleagues on the ground within a day or two. What we need now is genuine, tangible co-operation as we look to support the wider economy and help the nation overcome this challenging period.”


Finally, German discount grocer also has 2,500 temporary four-week in-store opportunities up for grabs in the UK at the moment - and would like new stock assistant recruits to start immediately if at all possible.

The roles pay a minimum of £9.30 and consist of tasks such as cleaning and restocking shelves which are fast depleting in Coronavirus times.

Lidl GB’s chief executive, Christian Hartnagel, said: “Our store colleagues are doing an incredible job at keeping our shelves stocked, and serving communities during an extremely challenging period.”

“Temporarily expanding our teams is one way we can help support our colleagues and customers, whilst providing work to those that have had their employment affected by the current situation,” added Mr Hartnagel.

You can find out lots more about working in UK supermarket chains and some of the extra perks you can look forward to right here on the e4s website.

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