Lidl has announced pay rises from March next year, which it says will make it the UK’s highest-paying supermarket.
It will increase its minimum pay for employees outside London to GBP10.10 an hour, with rates of up to GBP11.40 for more experienced workers.
Higher rates will apply in the capital, the supermarket said.
It added that the increase recognised “the hard work and dedication of frontline colleagues during the last 18 months of the pandemic”.
Earlier this year, Morrisons became the first UK supermarket to pay at least GBP10 an hour.
“Entry-level wages will increase from GBP9.50 to GBP10.10 an hour outside of London and GBP10.85 to GBP11.30 within the M25 from March 2022, with colleagues earning up to GBP11.40 and GBP12.25 respectively, depending on length of service,” Lidl said.
It comes after official figures on Tuesday suggested that employers are continuing to struggle to fill roles, affecting the hospitality and retail sectors in particular.
Job vacancies hit a fresh record high of 1.17 million in October – almost 400,000 higher than before the pandemic.
Lidl said the move represented a pay rise of more than 6% for some. More than 21,000 Lidl employees, about 80% of its staff, would benefit, it added.
By comparison, the UK’s minimum wage for workers over 23 is set to rise from its current level of GBP8.91 an hour to GBP9.50 from April 2022.
And earlier this week, the Real Living Wage, paid by almost 9,000 employers throughout the country, went up from GBP9.50 to GBP9.90 an hour.
As for Lidl’s rivals, the latest available data suggests Tesco and Aldi currently pay GBP9.55 an hour, while Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-op pay GBP9.50 and Asda pays GBP9.18.
Competing for talent
Lidl said its latest pay rise would cost it GBP18m and described it as part of its UK investment plan.
Nan Gibson, Lidl’s chief HR officer, told the BBC: “We do not expect to pass that on to customers in the form of price rises.”
She said it was currently “very difficult” to recruit staff, adding: “We are competing for talent with all the other retailers and, indeed, other industries.”
Ms Gibson said Lidl’s pay rise was intended to retain existing staff “as far as possible”, but also to attract new workers.
The supermarket also reiterated its existing intention to have 1,000 stores in the UK by the end of 2023.
Christian Hartnagel, chief executive at Lidl GB, said: “We have ambitious plans to grow our business across Great Britain, and to do that, we need to ensure we attract and look after the best talent at every level of our business.”