© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man looks at products on shelves inside a Tesco Extra supermarket near Manchester, Britain, January 8, 2020. REUTERS / Phil Noble / File Photo
By Richa Naidu
LONDON (Reuters) – With job vacancies in the UK near a record high, retailers including Tesco (OTC:) Plc have started offering better perks to workers, luring them in. with free food and necessities during a cost-of-living crisis. Britain’s labor market emerged from the pandemic with unemployment at its lowest level since 1974 and record energy prices contributing to inflation.
Vacancies in the three months to July fell for the first time since mid-2020 but remained near an all-time high of 1.3 million. Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer, has in recent weeks increased the number of free products it offers to staff in store areas, it told Reuters.
Employees are given free fruit; hot and cold drinks; breakfast items such as cereals, crackers and spreads; bread, pasta and noodle snacks; and toiletries including deodorant and hygiene products, a Tesco spokesperson said.
Linda Ellett, KPMG’s head of consumer, retail and entertainment markets, said:
“It’s the people in the stores, the people in the warehouse and the logistics — they’re no longer seen as attractive roles,” says Ellett. At the same time, retailers are “concerned about seasonal workers, especially in the supply chain,” she added. About two weeks ago, John Lewis said it would hire 10,000 employees during the holiday, offering workers free meals during this time to help deal with the rising cost of living.
“If things like food and hygiene products are available, that is the savings that workers can generate,” says Ellett.
Several retailers have raised base wages this year, including Sainsbury’s, which has raised wages by at least £10 ($11) an hour.
Sainsbury’s has also increased employee discounts by up to 20% on some days, a spokesman said.
(1 dollar = 0.8759 pounds)