Tesco to recruit in deprived areas


People Management Magazine 23rd December 2004

Supermarket targets long-term unemployed people in a bid to recruit staff from a wider labour pool

Katie Hope

Tesco is targeting long-term unemployed people in deprived areas in a bid to recruit staff from a wider labour pool and create new markets for its business.

Andrew Smith, regeneration manager at Tesco, said the company planned to open another two to three stores in early 2005 that would employ large numbers of long-term unemployed people.

Through its regeneration partnership programme, the company has already opened 10 new stores, with 2,000 of the 3,000 new jobs created going to long-term unemployed people. Tesco guarantees them a job providing they complete a training course lasting eight to 10 weeks.

"This is a new approach to training and work that recognises aptitude, not qualifications. We need to create new markets and support our communities so they will support us. It is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff in today’s labour market," Smith said at a Daycare Trust conference for employers this month.

The company has found its policy has improved retention, with 55 per cent of staff taken on through the scheme staying for at least six months. Smith said that a fifth of the new recruits had been promoted and were being trained for specialist roles.

But a job guarantee alone was not enough to encourage people to leave benefits behind, he warned.

"We target returning mothers and people over 50, but we also offer family-friendly policies, with flexible shift patterns and career break schemes," added Smith.

Across the company, 29 per cent of staff work under 16 hours per week, 36 per cent work 16 to 35 hours a week, and 34 per cent work over 36 hours.