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Shelf loads of opportunities in supermarkets

British supermarkets are creating 27,000 jobs this year. Investment banks will probably cut tens of thousands. So, is there the slightest possibility that any of the people getting out of investment banking could get into supermarkets?

It’s happened before. Back in 2000, three budding Goldman bankers left The Firm to set up their own online grocery retailing business. Eight years later, Ocado has 350m in annual sales and takes 12,000 orders a day.

Sadly, Ocado may be a case alone. Things were bad in 2000, but they weren’t that bad – Goldman reportedly even told the Ocado escapees that they could have their jobs back if things didn’t progress as planned.

Today, a brief perusal of big supermarkets’ websites suggests most of the open positions are for ‘trading roles’ (AKA merchandising, aisle arranging) or for uninspiring things like credit control.

Tesco (10,000 new jobs in 2009) does have jobs that pay in excess of 100k, but they’re all for IT analysts. No one was in Tesco’s office yesterday to tell us whether senior positions suited to bankers might come up soon.

Asda (7,000 new jobs in 2009), told us most of its new roles will be attached to new stores and will therefore involve ‘colleagues’ well versed in the art of delivering and picking products.

Aldi (227 new stores coming soon) might be an alternative. A spokesperson tells us that its well publicized graduate recruitment programme, which is hiring 50% more people this year and pays a 40k starting salary, rising to 60k after three years plus a company car, would be open to bankers who have lost their jobs . However, she also divulges that the programme is predominantly populated by 20 year olds fresh from university.

Failing this, Jim Hinds, head of the consumer team at headhunters say Russell Reynolds, says the supermarket jobs most suited to former bankers are in strategy/M&A or corporate finance. However, these jobs are hard to come by and Hinds says: “There are significant cultural differences between the two industries, which mean that [any movement from banking to retail] would be more a trickle than a flow.”

Comments (13)

  1. This is infinitely worse than insinuating that I might want to work as an insurance account manager. These jobs are for people with C grades at GCSE, three B grades at A level in media studies, business studies, and French and a degree from the University of Outer Plymouth.

  2. “the supermarket jobs most suited to former bankers are in strategy/M&A or corporate finance”

    This is extremely optimistic. Very few bankers have the skills (or often intellectual ability) to get “corporate development/finance” jobs. Only those prepared to start over, literally as shelf stackers, to learn commercial and strategic thinking skills will be successful. Even fewer ex-bankers will be able to hold onto these positions for more than their probationary period without work ethic and interpersonal skills.

  3. You are right, Roger. Better deprive our children of an education and starve, rather than take jobs beneath our superior education, which clearly makes us better than pretty much anybody.
    You need to wake up: there are no jobs to be had in your old industry, and you’re going to have to make hard choices. The sooner you make them, the more chances you have to beat the hordes of other redundant “better-than-but-starving” bankers to a job that actually has a salary, any salary.

  4. RM – don’t be such a scare monger. You may not be doing very well, but I am fine thank you. You’d have to be a person with three Bs at A level to even contemplate the likes of Aldi.

  5. Roger – you are so arrogant it is disgusting. I have a BSc and and MSc in Finance from a leading university and was an MD at a major IB. Despite this, I would still consider jobs ‘beneath me’ to continue my lifestyle. I would rather work and earn 40-60k and not eat into my well earned savings too much than deprive my future of other more important things. Anyone willing to wait for the ‘perfect’ opportunity may be waiting for a long long time. Just be more humble….

  6. Roger, you are an arrogant ass. People like you caused this whole crisis. Thinking you are so much better than everyone else when in fact just by your comments it seems very clear you are not.

  7. What’s the story here? Jobs in the real economy have little in common with banking? And there was me thinking that my derivatives knowledge would make me irresistible to Waitrose…

  8. Roger..I think I know you .. lower management operations at a 3rd Tier Bank and i believe in a Consultation period…..wake up ..it is not to see whether you get promoted..YOU AR%E

  9. Mr Federer, SORT IT OUT! Who the hell do you think you are judging someone on their A-Level grades?? They mean absolutely nothing anyway. Many people (yes including those outside the banking industry!) would love to be on 40-60k p/a, have the opportunity to do a good job, and live a nice lifestyle at the same time. Considering today’s climate, your snobbish attitude is just plain daft.

  10. Wild cat strikes, Protectionist policies, riots across Europe and now worst of all the readers of Efinancial have turnt on eachother with ever-increasing anger

    The entertainment value of arrogant asses here is second to none,

  11. Any chance of a follow-on article investigating the 2,000 new jobs announced at Pontins?


  12. I thought about supermarkets myself, but I saw pictures from Tesco staff on their graduate recruitment page and I was slightly put off. they all look very weird. that is the problem with UK. You’ve got bankers, and you’ve got very weird looking people. almost mentally retarded.

  13. Bankers discussing supermarkets. This site is priceless!!! Happens only in London after a Finance crisis. :)) I say, all clever city people get together and open a hedge fund. With all asset classes depressed, there are bound to be bargains everywhere. Just combine all the clever guys with lots of MBA degrees (admittedly from US schools) who have lost their jobs!

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