• Graduate Employers Guides - Sainsburys

TSR Wiki > Careers > Graduate Employers Guides > Sainsbury's

Employer Information

  • Application deadline: Closed. Next cycle opens August 2009.
  • Starting salaries: £23k- £25k
  • Regions: All Uk
  • Industries: Retail
  • Website: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/sol/index.jsp
  • Email: N/A
  • Telephone: Recruitment enquiries: 0845 602 3860
  • Address: London office:

Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd
33 Holborn

What is Sainsbury's?

A part of the J Sainsbury Plc, Sainsbury's is one of the nation's leading and most recognisable retailers. They are committed to helping their customers eat healthily at valuable prices, while reducing their impact on the environment and working closely with farmers, schools and communities to offer the very best it can in every aspect of its business. Sainsbury's employs more than 153,000 people, and graduates looking to join the company can expect to join a forward thinking and important national company.

What roles are available at Sainsbury's?

Roles available in finance, supply chain, customer and marketing, human resources, property, buying, product development, IT and product technology.

Application process for Sainsbury's.

Apply online by going here.

Entry requirements and type of person suited for Sainsbury's.

A good degree in any subject, plus relevant skills ranging from leadership, confidence, communication, analytical and business based is necessary.

Future prospects and training at Sainsbury's.

Sainsbury's graduate schemes allow for graduates to put the knowledge they learnt on the placement together with further on the job experience with technical training courses to build up the necessary skills for their chosen role, while personal development looks at confidence, leadership and team-work skills to ensure graduates have all the important attributes to build a long and successful career. Coaching and buddy schemes will be in operation for the duration of the training.

Overall, career progression is considered to be relatively fast compared to other employers, however in order to progress it is necessary to show your competence in several areas.

Other comments about Sainsbury's.


If you have applied to Sainsbury's, we would like you to hear from you. Please use the following form to detail your experiences of application, to aid those interested in following a similar career path.

Position applied for:
Retail graduate scheme

Year of Application:
2008, started in 2009

South - East UK

Educational Background:
Degree, A levels, GCSE's

What were your experiences of the application process?
I found the application process to be fairly straight forward. I applied in September/October 2008 and went through the online tests straightaway, which I passed. I then had a telephone interview in December 2008 and attended an assessment centre in January 2009. I heard that I had been offered the job in February 2009 and was to start with them in September 2009.

The telephone interview was fine, mainly your usual type of interview questions, such as "can you describe a time when you had to deal with conflict in a work setting" etc. It is something that you can prepare for as if you are invited to the telephone interview you are told that the questions you will be asked will centre around their leadership behaviours which are: Customers pay our wages, Tough love, Winning, On my watch, Commitment is earned, and Try something new. These are not to be confused with their corporate values which are concerned with different issues.

I found the assessment centre to be fine, it involved two group activities, a presentation, and a role playing exercise. As long as you are prepared and try not to be nervous you shouldn't be surprised with what the assessment centre throws at you.

What is it like working for Sainsbury's?
I have been on the scheme for 3 months now, and I have had a bit of a mixed time. The company is great to work for and has a good reputation both within the retail industry and amongst its customers. Since starting with them in September, I have spent the last 3 months either stacking shelves or working on a checkout for 90% of my work day. The remaining 10% of the time involves either altering stock orders or condensing/tidy the warehouse. I did think that all of the shelf stacking was becuase I was new etc, however all of the senior store management (e.g. deputy managers and the store manager) spend at least half of their work day stacking shelves as well, and their work day can easily go over 10 hours. This is something else that you have to be careful of, as the contract I had to sign stated that I agreed to work "reasonable" unpaid overtime to help the business... basically the business decides what is "reasonable" and my work days at the moment involve at least 1 hour of unpaid overtime.

In terms of positives, the money is very good, in that deputy managers (where the scheme aims to get you to within 2 years) earn a starting wage of £35,000 plus a bonus of up to 10%, with store managers on a minimum of £60,000 plus a bonus of up to 20%. However, you have to be prepared to do repetitive and sometimes mind numbing work, which is probably why the pay is relatively high.

How has it compared to your expectations?
So far, the scheme has been somewhat of a let down. I was expecting so much from the scheme from how it had been hyped up, however although I am still working there I am back to looking for a new job. I was expecting to be involved a lot more in the management side of things, however there is always the issues for me of having to stack shelves on a constant basis, and although I have no problem with helping out and getting my hands dirty this is not something that I personally could do on a long term basis.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
If I stay with Sainsbury's, I see myself either in a regional operations capacity such as profit protection or having been a deputy store manager for at least 2 years. If I do not stay with Sainsbury's, then I see myself in more of an office based role.

Finally, any advice you would give to potential applicants?
Think carefully about a career in retail. All of the recruitment websites paint a picture of running your own store etc one day, however the reality is long days which include a fair amount of unpaid overtime which you are basically expected to do, as well as some repetitive work that involves stacking shelves no matter your level in the store.

However, the money is good, so if you are able to put up with some of what I have described then this could be a career for you.

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