Sainsbury’s creates 480 digital specialist jobs, while cutting 500 jobs elsewhere

Sainsbury’s is creating 480 jobs for in-house digital specialists to develop digital systems to meet the increasing technology demands of customers

Sainsbury’s is creating 480 jobs for in-house digital specialists to develop and test digital systems to meet the increasing technology demands of customers.

The new roles will be responsible for building on and running the existing digital platforms used by customers, which include its website and mobile shopping apps.

A digital lab in London, which will be opened later in 2015, will house 180 developers and designers, who will test test technology for use in stores and online. 

The lab will focus on creating digital systems, such as using in-store Wi-Fi to drive sales.

The other 300 roles will be based in Coventry and will work alongside store, depot and office operational staff in a specialist technology hub for building online shopping platforms.

Sainsbury’s director of digital and technology Jon Rudoe said the move puts the retailer on the map as a career destination for digital and technology specialists.

"Retail is a vibrant sector for innovation and this team is key to keeping our fast-paced business running,” he said.

“We’re structuring and equipping entrepreneurial teams to improve the digital experience and develop products that will help make our customers’ lives easier."

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But the announcement is followed by a sting as the retailer confirmed approximately 500 office support roles in London, Coventry and Manchester will be cut.

Earlier in 2015, the retailer assessed its central structures and costs, and implemented plans to save £500m while investing in digital technologies to improve customer involvement.

The firm is also going through the process of building new platforms for supply chains and online shopping, and recently started trialling a digital app to make the process of writing a list and buying products easier.

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe said the shape of the business is changing, with digital and technology a core part of future growth.

"Ultimately, these changes are good news for customers – the technology hub in Coventry will keep our systems running smoothly and experts in our digital lab in London will be developing new ways of digital shopping to give customers the best access to our products, services and offers," he said.

This exploration of the Sainsbury’s digital and online initiative comes after a drop in sales for the supermarket at the end of 2014, for which it blamed an increase in competition.

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