One of the world’s biggest grocery chains, Aldi’s business model revolves around keeping prices as low as possible. With over 7,000 stores worldwide in Europe, the US and Australia, Aldi employs more than 6,500 people in the UK alone.
- Very high starting salary for graduates
- Excellent benefits, including a company Audi
- Extensive training and lots of responsibility if you prove yourself
- Expect to work hard and put in long hours
- Lots of high targets to meet
While shopping in Aldi may not seem to be as appealing to those who prefer shopping somewhere with self-service tills and ‘walk to your car’ assistance, it will certainly do wonders for your bank balance. For those that doubt the supermarket’s aesthetic: it’s intentional. Aldi is described as being an example of a ‘hard’ discount store, as it is characterised as having a focus on essentials and cost. The ‘hard’ discount store, a retail format invented by Aldi, follows the high-profit-yielding business model of offering limited store hours, few non-core services and focusing on the increased volume of sales of a narrow range of key products.
Listed in fifth place in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2012-13 rankings, the globally known group is one of the world’s biggest grocery chains. Aldi was created by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht as “Albrecht Discount” over six decades ago. Unfortunately, the brothers split after an argument over whether to sell cigarettes. The chain was split into Aldi Nord (North), located in Essen and Aldi Süd (South) located in Mühlheim/Ruhr. Nicotine tensions aside, Aldi continued to grow and expand throughout Germany until its first step towards globalisation in 1967 via the takeover of an Australian food retailer.
Both brothers had the good sense to venture further west into Europe, and Aldi Nord began to expand between 1975 and 1977 as it opened stores in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Theo operates Aldi Nord in northern Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain and Denmark, whereas Karl operates Aldi Süd under the name of Hofer in Southern Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland, as well as Australia and the US on an international scale. Both companies are independently operated in terms of finance and organisation but share in decisions such as pricing.
The first Aldi store opened in the UK in 1990 and there are now more than 420 stores in the UK and Ireland. The German retailer has also taken root in the American market, where the first store was opened in 1976. There are now well over 1,000 stores across 29 states in the US.
So a cheap supermarket, with basic decor must only have opportunities for stacking shelves, right? Wrong. Have no doubt; Aldi invests as much in its workforce as it does its development. If you think you might fit in as part of this well-oiled supermarket machine, then it may be worth knowing that the company recruits year-round for area managers, store managers, assistant store managers and store assistant positions.
Recruitment for the Area Manager Graduate Training Programme occurs year-round, with benefits including a pension, private healthcare, five weeks holiday, life assurance and even a fully expensed Audi A4. The average graduate starting salary is highly competitive at £40,000 and increases after subsequent training is completed. After five years in the area manager position, there is even an opportunity for appointment as a director. To qualify for an area manager graduate position, you will need to have received, or about to receive a 2:1 in your degree. In addition, you must have a good academic record and must demonstrate you have attributes that go beyond education, including confidence and sensitivity.
Training locations are sorted by the applicant’s postal code, however, you can request a specific location within the UK if you prefer. You can expect extensive training throughout your first year, and you will be given charge of up to 6 stores in your area when you are ready. To apply to be an area manager, you will have to fill in an online application on the company’s website, which should take you around 45 minutes.
Alternatively, Aldi also runs a Retail Placement Scheme which offers nine months of intensive training. You’ll spend your time shadowing a store manager, dealing with customers and being taught how to balance the books, amongst other tasks.
Graduate Recruitment Info
No. of employees in the UK: Approx. 6,500
Annual graduate intake: 100+
Area Manager Graduate Training Programme: £40,000 (increasing after the first year)
Retail Placement Scheme: £25,000