What it does: A global discount supermarket chain with over 10,000 stores in 18 countries and rapid growth in Australia since launching in 2001
Staff stats: ALDI now has over 450 stores in Australia and employs over 10,000 staff
The good bits: Impressive pay and benefits. Plenty of opportunities for development
The not so good bits: You’ll have to work hard and deal with long hours and high expectations
The ALDI story
The first small grocery store opened in 1913 in the German town of Essen. After inheriting the family grocery shop in 1946, Karl and Theo Albrecht built the ALDI (ALbrecht DIskount) chain up to 300 shops in post-war Germany. In the 1960s, they went their separate ways splitting the business into ALDI Nord (North) and ALDI Süd (South). Both expanded overseas as aggressively as they had in Germany and ALDI Süd arrived in Australia in 2001.
ALDI is famous for keeping its operating costs low and passing the savings on to the consumers. This frugality is relaxed somewhat when it comes to staffing costs. In many countries, including Australia, ALDI stands out among retailers for paying more than it’s obliged to by minimum-wage laws. It also offers salaried staff five weeks’ annual leave and has generous maternity leave provisions. Six-figure salary packages are common for senior front-line staff, such as store managers, and head-office employees working in management roles in areas such as business support, IT, logistics, property management and transportation.
Unsurprisingly, ALDI’s corporate culture revolves around deeply embedded Teutonic values. These include a laser-like focus on efficiency, a strong work ethic and an aversion to flashiness. While its size currently pales in comparison to the long-established incumbents Coles and Woolworths, ALDI has enjoyed explosive growth over the last 16 years. If working for an agile ‘challenger’ business and seizing opportunities to progress in a fast-expanding organisation appeals, ALDI could be for you.
ALDI has a well-earned reputation for having high expectations but they remain fair when it comes to both its employees and suppliers. It also aims to safeguard the health of both its customers and the environment. In Australia, it has removed artificial colours from its private label products. It also signed up to sell only Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish and partnered with Planet Ark to offer a free recycling service for batteries. ALDI also donates food to Foodbank, Oz Harvest and Second Bite and provides goods to Barnardos.
The recruitment process
You can apply for ALDI’s grad program in your final year of study or after graduating with a Bachelor or Master’s degree in any discipline. The business seeks out those with a solid academic record who can also take on “tough, mind-stretching retail challenges”. You start the process by submitting an online application via the ALDI Careers website. If you make it to the next stage, you’ll be required to do a video interview and psychometric testing. Later stages involve attending an assessment centre, spending time with an Area Manager and sitting interviews with senior executives.
The grad program runs for 18 months. You’ll do everything from manning a cash register, to working in a distribution centre, to attending site meetings with the property team, all while developing your skills as a leader. You’ll also need to move around a lot and attend training at the Sydney head office.
Unusually, ALDI openly advertises what those undertaking its grad program make. You’ll start on an impressive salary package of $85,000 which increases to $152,000 within four years. Comprehensive training, a fully expensed company car and an iPhone are also provided from week one.
With an ever expanding network, there will be plenty of development opportunities on offer. That said, you’ll need to demonstrate a strong ability to lead teams and deliver results. Given ALDI goes to great lengths to only hire and retain driven staff, you’ll need to be exceptional to climb to the upper reaches of the corporate hierarchy.
The vibe of the place
ALDI is one of those multinationals with a strong culture that transcends geography. It’s a performance-driven company that rewards results and hard work. While innovative, it’s in many ways a conservative organisation. As an executive manager, you’ll be expected to wear a suit and look professional at all times. There’s not a lot of out-of-hours socialising but there is a friendly, teamwork-orientated workplace culture that fosters continuous development.
Overall satisfaction rating among grad employees: 4.0 stars
From the employer:
"At ALDI we are changing the landscape of retail in Australia, making a real difference to the lives of our customers and our people. As the nation’s low-price grocery leader, our business model is built on creating efficiencies at every level; to provide our customers with top quality products at the lowest possible price.
Our people make this possible because they are engaged, energetic and positive. We have created a culture that is focused on our people, caring for you by respecting and supporting your personal development.
ALDI’s rapidly growing network consists of over 10,000 stores across 18 countries which service millions of households. We are proud of the foundation of success we have established, especially in Australia. With over 450 stores nationwide and consistent expansion on the horizon, we provide stability to our employees and their families.
We are constantly looking for hard working and committed employees that align with our values of fairness, quality and simplicity. It’s these standards that differentiate us from our competition and these standards that make ALDI an excellent employer.
As an ALDI graduate, you’ll undertake a comprehensive 18 month program, rotating through all aspects of our business and developing your skills as a leader. No other graduate program provides the opportunity to lead successful teams and provide solutions to real life challenges that positively impact the business. Be successful and you’ll take on the role of Area Manager at the end of the program, running 3-5 stores and a multi-million dollar business as if it were your own. A strong academic record and a passion for retail is a must, but more than that, we’re looking for natural leaders who are good with people and who can move beyond academic study to take on tough, mind-stretching retail challenges.
It’s a fast paced and intense management based program with a lot of information to take on board. You’ll need to pick things up fast, and build strong relationships with your colleagues, team and leaders. We need you to be flexible as you’re expected to move around the state quite a bit during the program as well as attending training at the ALDI Head Office in Sydney. All ALDI roles are hands on in nature so if you’d prefer to sit back and watch this might not be the right fit for you. We have high expectations of all our team, so you’ll be set new challenges every day and expected to deliver on them.
One thing's for certain though - the challenges may be great, but so are the rewards.
The Rewards – What’s in it for you?
- Market leading remuneration
- Be part of a growing organisation
- Comprehensive training
- Company car and iPhone from your first week
- 5 weeks’ annual leave
- High degree of responsibility
The Graduate Application Process:
- Online Applications: 1 January 2017 - 31 March 2017
- Video Interview and Psychometric Testing: April 2017
- Assessment Centre, Area Manager Session and Individual Interview: May 2017
- Offers Made: June 2017
- Program Commencement: February 2018
Area Manager Program
For those up for the challenge, we also we offer an experienced Area Manager program. To participate in this program to you must possess a Bachelor or Master’s degree evidencing a strong academic record and a minimum of 3 years business experience. This year long program allows for a high level of autonomy and responsibility with the opportunity to manage your workload the way you want and effect change in both your area of stores and the wider business in general. The comprehensive 12 month program covers all aspects of the company and allows you to build on your established business knowledge.
The role of an ALDI Area Manager certainly is a challenging one. It is fast-paced and demanding with long hours, high expectations and tough goals to achieve. It is not the role for anyone who is scared of getting their hands dirty. You must possess outstanding interpersonal and time management skills. There is no such thing as a typical day, so you must be adaptive and resilient.
After the one year program you will receive 3-5 multimillion dollar stores that you must oversee. This will utilise all the skills you have refined in your training period and will draw heavily on your leadership, business acumen, procedural knowledge and technical management. Organising a heavy workload and coaching team members of fulfil their potential requires a level head under pressure. In return for your dedication, we provide higher than industry average remuneration and a fully expensed company car and iPhone from your first week.
Applications for experienced Area Managers taken throughout the year.
Our challenging but rewarding programs will help you develop the skills, experience and commercial insight to be a future ALDI leader. If you think you have what it takes to be the next ALDI Graduate/Area Manager and are ready to fast-track your career, apply now by visiting www.aldicareers.com.au"