Career as a supermarket manager

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Simon Jones has recently been promoted to general store manager at a supermarket in Leeds. He started working at weekends as a shelf-filler with the supermarket chain almost 12 years ago.

What does your career as a supermarket manager involve?

As supermarket manager, I am responsible for the sales performance of the store. I get involved in all of the business aspects, ranging from sales drives to managing wages and the store's waste budget. This means trying to reduce the amount of non-saleable goods we have in the store. I'm also responsible for staff welfare and oversee their training and development.

What do you do in a typical day?

I spend around two hours walking the shop floor with section managers and their staff. This helps me to find out if there are any problems and provide coaching and support to the workforce. After this, I check information reports on how well the store is trading so far.

Later on, I have a morning meeting with key colleagues to discuss any wider issues. We call this meeting a 'huddle'. The afternoon is spent in the same way. Towards the end of my shift, I call a 'rumble' which means that anyone not involved with the customers has to help tidy the store. I then have a handover meeting with the manager who is doing the evening shift.

What are your working hours?

My official working week is 39 hours, although I often come in early.

What is it like being responsible for a supermarket?

It can be very daunting at first, but you are so busy dealing with issues that you haven't got time to worry about it! Also, it helps that I have worked at all levels in the supermarket and received a lot of guidance during the training scheme.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like seeing people develop in their jobs – especially when I have had a hand in seeing shop floor colleagues become managers. Also, the job is interesting because there is no such thing as a typical day.

What challenges do you face at work?

I constantly deal with people in my job and people can be very unpredictable! I'm always working to get the best out of my staff by inspiring them, and this can be a satisfying but challenging process.

What kinds of skills do you need for this role?

You need to appear unruffled, helpful and friendly to all types of people. You should also be willing to talk to anyone and be able to cope with challenging conversations. You must be well-organised as the job involves juggling many activities at the same time.

What are your working hours?

My official working week is 39 hours, although I often come in early.

Simon's route to his career as a supermarket manager

  • Supermarket shelf filler.
  • Part-time supermarket work whilst studying for a languages degree.
  • Supermarket graduate training scheme.

Simon's supermarket manager tips

  • You've got to be able to accept that things will go wrong and enjoy solving them.
  • It is important to have a positive approach in this job.

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Salary information

  • Salaries vary according to the size and nature of supermarkets.
  • Starting salaries begin at around £12,000 for non-graduates.
  • With experience it is possible to earn £25,000 a year.
  • At senior levels it is possible to earn £40,000 and over.

A career as a supermarket manager

  • While it is possible to progress into this role by working your way up from a sales assistant role, many supermarkets now seek graduates, particularly those with a degree in business or retail management and leadership.
  • Most supermarkets have structured training schemes to enable staff to progress. For this route, specific formal qualifications are not usually required, though most employers require a good general education and a minimum of two A levels for management training.
  • The University of Surrey offers a graduate apprenticeship scheme in Retail Management, which leads to a BSc Professional Development in Retail Management.
  • NVQ/SVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Retail Operations and Levels 2 to 5 in Management are available. Additional relevant qualifications include BTEC qualifications in Retail at Levels 2, 3 and 4, and City & Guilds Higher Professional Diploma in Retail Management at Level 4.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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