Employee sentiment rises across supermarket sector

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Despite the pressures of keeping food and essential supplies in stock and the risk of infection in public-facing roles, supermarkets’ Glassdoor company ratings, based on reviews and scores from employees, have improved in the past two months.

The recruitment site has summarised what those working on the front line feel about their working conditions and experience, based on supermarkets’ overall company rating. Glassdoor also looked at what salaries those working in supermarkets typically receive, from store assistants through to managers.

While the increases in company ratings are slight, they are consistent across the food retail sector. Aldi’s score out of five rose from 3.4 in February to 3.5 this month, Tesco from 3.6 to 3.7 and Waitrose increased from 3.8 to 3.9. Iceland was the only supermarket to record a fall, from 3.2 to 3.1. The average rating for all employers on Glassdoor is currently 3.5.

John Lamphiere, VP and managing director of EMEA at Glassdoor, said: “Sentiment among most of the supermarkets has seen a slight increase since the Covid-19 outbreak began, indicating that supermarkets are maintaining a commitment to employee wellbeing during these turbulent times as they ramp up their employee count.

“While hourly pay for shop floor staff hovers around minimum wage across all supermarkets, Morrisons and Aldi far lead the way when it comes to compensation for managers. With supermarkets playing such a vital role in maintaining crucial supply chains right now, it’s encouraging to see some of the employee base being handsomely compensated. Time will tell if a ripple effect will be felt by those on the ground, such as shop floor and fulfilment employees, in their hourly pay.”

All supermarkets are recruiting additional staff. Last month Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket, began seeking 20,000 temporary workers to work in its stores until at least May. Its recruitment process has been streamlined to process applications, assess eligibility to work and interview candidates in a single day.

Aldi said it had made 4,000 permanent positions and 5,000 temporary jobs available at its stores and distributions centres.

Before Easter, Morrisons announced it will pay its full-time employees a 6% bonus for their hard work during the pandemic. Front-line employees will receive the bonus quarterly for a period of 12 months – an average annual bonus payment of £1,050, compared to £351 in 2019.

Clare Grainger, group people director at Morrisons, said: “Our highly valued employees have stood tall amidst the coronavirus pandemic, playing their full part in feeding the nation. We want to thank every single one of them for their continued hard work during these unprecedented times by paying a much higher guaranteed bonus for the whole year in recognition of their effort.”

Supermarkets – what employees say

Aldi (Glassdoor company rating: 3.5)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £9
Average store manager salary: £50,388
“Very good benefits package. Secure employer. Opportunities to progress (limited but internal promotion is the usual route)” – Aldi area manager, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Asda (3.3)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £8
Average department manager salary: £27,243
“Great support from managers. Great team ethics. Sometimes you’d get freebies of all sorts. Good training” – Asda supply chain analyst, Leeds

Co-op (3.5)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £7-8
Average store manager salary: £32,762
“Great team spirit. Supportive management and colleagues. Good pay rates. Incentives” – Co-op customer team member, Grays

Iceland Foods (3.1)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £8
Average store manager salary: £35,194
“Wage. Flexible hours. Over time. Great management” – Iceland retail assistant, Port Glasgow

J Sainsbury (3.5)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £8
Average store manager salary: £39,297
“Percentage off to shop – As many extra shifts as you want – Nice team and staff” – Sainsbury’s fresh food assistant, Cambridge

Lidl (3.3)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £9
Average store manager salary: £43,816
“Friendly staff, plenty of exercise, simple tasks, almost excessive breaks (never worked anywhere where I received a break on a four-hour shift)” – Lidl customer assistant, Birmingham

Tesco (3.7)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £8
Average store manager salary: £38,747
“Lots of freedom with understanding managers. Plenty of training and the employee union takes good care of workers” – Tesco customer assistant, Bangor

Morrisons (3.2)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £8-9
Average store manager salary: £57,445
“Brilliant staff and progression opportunity” – Morrisons team leader, Wetherby

Waitrose & Partners (3.9)
Average customer assistant hourly pay: £8
Average team manager salary: £29,792
“It’s organised. There’s always tasks at hand. Friendly environment. I feel confident doing my job. I enjoy engaging with customers” – Waitrose supermarket assistant, Gerrards Cross

* Pay is based on employee submissions to Glassdoor

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