Up to 100 of those jobs will be on the German retailer’s graduate programme where university leavers start on an annual salary of £40,000 and are given use of an Audi car. Graduates can hope to earn £63,500 after four years. Other positions will range from less well paid stock assistants to store managers as Aldi continues to take market share in the UK grocery sector.
The German retailer has more than 400 stores across the UK. It intends to continue its store expansion but will also boost staff numbers at existing shops.
The popularity of discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl has reached new heights during the double-dip recession as middle-class shoppers trade down. Recent research from consultancy Kantar Worldpanel showed Aldi grew sales by 26.1pc in the 12 weeks to July 8, despite growth in the grocery sector as a whole dipping 2.1pc during the period. Lidl sales were also up 11.5pc. Both chains have reached their highest ever share of the market, at 2.9pc apiece.
Richard Holloway, head of graduate recruitment at Aldi, said this year’s university-leaver recruitment programme will be the retailer’s biggest ever in the UK. Applicants for the scheme are required to hold a 2:1 degree in any subject.
“Aldi is looking to recruit more than 100 graduates this year, more than ever before, and with a rolling recruitment deadline, this will continue into next year,” he said. “We’re looking for outstanding candidates who can offer something beyond academic achievements. Strong personalities, work experience, hobbies and leading teams at university are key strengths that we have identified.
“This year, Aldi has also launched a National Apprentice Scheme, working in partnership with local colleges, to create 200 jobs within stores nationwide. We are dedicated to offering the best career path to our employees and our trading plans demonstrate this.”
Aldi opened its first UK store in Birmingham in 1990 and saw its growth in popularity accelerate following the 2008 banking crisis as middle-class shoppers trimmed their weekly shopping budgets. That growth slowed when Britain exited recession and the traditional food retailers fought back.
However, their popularity is booming once again as the double-dip has forced shoppers to search for bargains.
Recent research suggests that the second recession is hitting shoppers even harder as growth in supermarkets’ premium own-label products – such as Tesco’s “Finest” and Sainsbury’s “Taste the Difference” ranges – slowed for the first time since 2008 in July. Previously households had been willing to splash out on more expensive treats instead of dining out.