Creating value as an employer in the West Midlands

Emma Taylor

UK & ROI People Director

13 Dec 2018

Read more from our UK & ROI People Director, Emma Taylor.

Against a backdrop of significant changes across the retail sector, many of us at Tesco have been thinking about how our own shops and colleagues can best serve the shoppers and communities in which we operate. This is particularly important when it comes to employment. Recent research has shown that 47% of people across the UK believe retail is the main industry driving their local job market.

I grew up in Birmingham, attended university in the city, and have lived here since joining Tesco 17 years ago, so naturally I’m personally interested in how Tesco creates value in the West Midlands. And as UK & ROI People Director, I’m interested in our contribution as an employer.

That’s why last week I organised and took part in a roundtable in Birmingham to discuss how business, government and the third sector can work together to improve skills in the region. It was a positive and productive discussion which gave me new insight and understanding into some of the specific challenges facing communities in the West Midlands, as well as food for thought on what we could do more of to address them.

For example, experts from the likes of the Prince’s Trust, Jobcentre Plus and further education colleges told us that in their experience young people in the West Midlands aren’t excited about working in retail. It’s fair to say the recent challenges on the high street, and subsequent media coverage, hasn’t helped. And yet there are plenty of opportunities in the region today. We currently employ the equivalent of 11,000 full time colleagues in the Birmingham area and are recruiting for 400 jobs there right now, but most importantly we’re committed to giving all our colleagues the skills they need for tomorrow, including enhancing their digital capabilities. So clearly there’s a job to be done in helping people understand the many positives of working in retail – and that, in fact, it can mean something different for everyone.

After all, for some, a job at Tesco is about flexibility and fitting work around their lives - whether that’s studying at university, or caring for their children, or pursuing their passions and life-long ambitions. While for others, a job at Tesco is about pursuing a career - whether that’s working their way up from the shop floor to a Store Manager, or exploring a completely different head office role and learning an entirely new skill-set.

For me I left the discussion on Wednesday with a renewed sense of the importance of continuing to talk about what it means to work at Tesco. The more we showcase who we are and what we do, the more we can attract new and diverse talent and the greater the contribution we will make.

For more information on Tesco’s contribution in your local area, visit

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