Supermarket chain Aldi is one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK, and is always on the lookout for talented, hard-working individuals keen to pursue a career in retail.
Since opening its first British store in 1990, Aldi has grown dramatically and now has 890 stores across the country, employing over 36,000 people. It’s now the UK’s fifth largest supermarket and has big expansion plans, aiming to operate 1,200 stores by 2025, so is recruiting ambitious new talent across all business areas.
What’s more, Aldi has been placed in the top five in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers list 2020 for the 4th year running.
To give an insight into what makes Aldi such a great company to work for, we quizzed Lucy Roper, 30, a Buying Director for Aldi’s Scotland operation…
When did you join Aldi and what inspired you to do so?
I joined in summer 2013 as a graduate area manager straight after graduating in History from Edinburgh University. I wanted to stay in Scotland and applied for Aldi because it had received such good employer reviews.
Was there lots to learn?
Yes, it was a steep learning curve, but you’re given excellent training and support to ensure you’re ready to take on a managerial role. You always start out as a store assistant, learning what it takes to effectively operate a store. You then learn all about the deputy store manager’s role, then the store manager’s. The in-store training usually takes around six months.
What was your first big job?
Working as an area manager in the east of Scotland. In that role you’re given three to five stores to look after, as well as a set of key performance indicators to achieve.
And your current role?
Three years ago I was promoted to a buying director for Aldi (Scotland). I buy a large range of Scottish products. Tastes here are quite different from south of the border; we’re big on pies and have a sweet tooth, and it’s my job to find products that will appeal, and build our sales here in Scotland.
Are you well rewarded?
Yes. Aldi provides a competitive benefits package. Buying directors get a six-figure salary and five weeks’ holiday a year. It’s a pretty good gig!
What’s a typical day like?
Before Covid I’d regularly go out to find new products. It’s a very hands-on role and involves a lot of “pulling apart the products” before we sell them, to ensure everything in store is perfect.
What do you like best about your job?
It’s quite varied. Pre-Covid I’d get out and meet with suppliers, as well as check out what other retailers were doing. I’ve even travelled to Norway for work which was great! I also have to do a lot of sampling, from ice cream to ready meals.
How do you see your future at Aldi?
I still have lots to learn in my current role, so I’m happy where I am for the moment. But I’m very ambitious, and keen to take on new challenges. I certainly want to stay with Aldi and can’t wait to see what my future career brings.
What skills do people need to succeed at Aldi?
You need to be willing to work hard – we’re a business that rewards that. It’s also important to be organised, personable and ambitious. Being personable has stood me in good stead; as a leader I need to support and inspire those around me.
Does the Aldi culture make a difference?
Yes, we’re quite a lean operation – for instance, I deal with the buying process from product idea to delivery – I love being involved in the whole product journey. We have a strong team spirit because we’ve all worked our way up through the business the same way. The company also has a very positive, can-do culture where everyone helps each other.
Any other perks working at Aldi?
Yes, through our MyAldi app (above) we receive important business information, useful articles and discounts on gym memberships (which is great for me, given all the food sampling I have to do!), as well as many leisure and retail outlets.