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We strive to promote balanced and competitive wage practices as well as policies for professional development that meet our employees’ expectations.
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Talent Attraction, Development and Retention

The Group is aware of the challenges in modern job markets, where digital transformation is accelerated. In 2020, and given the restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we focused our efforts on adapting our recruitment and onboarding (induction and integration) processes.

How we attract talent

Attracting talent is essential for the Group given the turnover rate in the food distribution sector and the need to ensure that all leadership positions, both in operations and at central offices, are filled.

Our Global Onboarding Policy, created in 2019, is an important tool for aligning the integration process of new employees and for the capacity-building of employees who take on new roles. This policy reinforces the nature of diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination practices already implemented in the Group.

LinkedIn and the Jerónimo Martins Young Talent showcase page targeting university goers, are an integral part of our attraction strategy.

We have also partnered with hospitality and tourism schools to recruit talent for our central kitchens and Pingo Doce restaurants.

In 2020, the practices followed by our Companies resulted in several awards.

  1. Jerónimo Martins was named “Portugal’s Most Attractive Employer”, in the retail category, in a survey conducted by employer branding firm Universum that included the participation of more than 11,000 students (aged between 18 and 30 years old) from 35 universities;
  2. Pingo Doce was awarded the prize for the “Biggest Contribution to Employment” in Portugal by Exame magazine, in partnership with Informa D&B and Deloitte;
  3. Biedronka was named “Solid Employer of the Year” for the second year in a row by Pro-Media magazine;
  4. Biedronka was considered a “Friendly Workplace 2020” and “Premium Employer Brand” by magazine;
  5. Hebe received the “Employer Branding Excellence 2020” award in the “Employer Branding Strategy up to PLN 100,000” category from the HRM Institute (Human Resource Management Institute).


Young Talent

The youth talent programmes are particularly of note in our attraction strategy.

The Management Trainee Programme, running for more than 30 years, is the Group’s main talent programme to attract young adults, offering a career in Food Distribution and the chance to acquire skills and knowledge through a unique combining of real work experience and a personalised training programme.

In Colombia, SENA – Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (National Training Service) stipulated an allotment of traineeships to help foster skills development and employment opportunities for students. More than 1,300 applications were submitted to the programme in 2020.

In Portugal, we also work with the University of Aveiro, financially supporting the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses in Business Management of the Águeda School of Technology and Management (ESTGA) by awarding scholarships and internships.

As a result of the pandemic, we created the Retail Drive In, a new traineeship programme in Portugal for young graduates.

In Poland, the focus was on Post Management Trainees under the Let’s Go programme, created to design tailored personal and professional development plans in a joint collaboration between the employee and the Human Resources teams. A new onboarding model was also designed, the “Buddy” programme, to help new employees in their integration in the Company.

Inclusion Programmes

The Group gives special consideration to supporting the most vulnerable groups of society, providing job opportunities to disadvantaged people and promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and those who are socially vulnerable.

The Incluir (Include) programme, developed in partnership with various institutions specialising in social inclusion, has already created 477 job opportunities that resulted in 227 hires (129 after on-the-job training and 98 direct hires).

How We Develop Our Talent

Investing in the development of our people means investing in continuous training, in mobility between local or international companies, and in well-defined compensation policies that reward the performance of each employee to ensure individual growth and talent retention.


In order to ensure a sustainable pace of growth, we invest in the continuous training of our people, regardless of their role or the country where they work.

3.8 million
training hours
training initiatives

As at 31.Dec.2020

33 hours
average training hours per employee

Training in Perishables, which is very important for our business, is provided by the Training School in Portugal and the Biedronka Perishables School.

In Portugal, there is also the Pingo Doce General Store Management Programme (PGGL), to develop skills for the role of Deputy Store Manager and now in its 50th edition, and Ready Meals training for Recheio and Recheio Masterchef Supervisors.

In Poland, of note are the Biedronkowa Akademia Zarządzania (Biedronka Management Academy) for store managers and deputy store managers, the Zostań Świeżoznawcą (Become a Perishables Expert) programme, the Biedronkowa Akademia Handlowa (Biedronka Business Academy), the training provided in partnership with the Warsaw School of Economics, Biedronkowa Akademia Handlowa Advanced (Biedronka Advanced Business Academy), and the General Management Programme (PGG).

In Colombia, Ara uses its exclusive employee e-learning platform for technical skills development in operations, corporate onboarding, business acumen, leadership, and emotional intelligence. With its more than 58 programmes, the platform is available to 99% of employees.

In 2020, Ara implemented a virtual retail programme with the support of Universidad de los Andes and the Eclass digital platform, which saw the participation of 67 employees from different areas of the Company, including trainees from 2018 and 2019. The Skills Development Programme was also launched, with in-house experts giving webinars to over 440 employees (directors, managers and supervisors).

  • Mobility is an integral part of our employee development, recognition and reward strategy, which includes three approaches:
  • Direct promotions, which include being promoted to positions of greater hierarchical responsibility (vertical mobility) or the taking on of new functions (horizontal mobility);
  • Openings, which allow employees to voluntarily diversify their career paths and build on their skills;
  • International mobility, which is a decisive tool in promoting the Group’s culture and values, ensuring strategic alignment between business needs and the progression of our employees.

In 2020, 13,520 employees (71% women and 29% men) were promoted in the Group. In total, and during the past year, 45,835 employees changed roles, location or company within the Group and 48 employees were assigned international mobility.

How we reward our talent

Performance Management

All Group employees, in all Companies, are encompassed by the Performance Management Cycle. This policy aims at the sustained improvement of employee performance, by aligning individual contributions with the strategic goals of each Company.


The Group seeks to follow a competitive pay policy geared towards results, while promoting meritocracy. Focus is placed on performance, career expectations, development needs and next steps in the organisation. In line with the principles of equality and non-discrimination, all employees are included in the performance management cycle and undergo performance appraisal.

The basic salary continues to be the pillar of our global compensation strategy and, in 2020, we continued to follow the plan previously designed for setting internal minimum wages above the national minimum wage in the most representative Companies of our business in Portugal, Poland and Colombia:

  • In Portugal, the company minimum wage was set between 2% and 26% above the national minimum wage;
  • In Poland, the minimum wage is set by region and can be up to 10% above the national minimum wage, and by adding the non-absence award, total pay can amount to between 17% and 31% above the national minimum wage;
  • In Colombia, the company minimum wage is 30% above the national minimum wage, and regular supplements are added to the basic salary amounting, on average, to 10% of basic pay.

Our compensation and benefits policies also reflect our commitment to gender equality. The Group has an overall gender pay gap ratio of 96.5% (with 100% corresponding to a zero pay difference), being more than 95% in all geographies where we operate.

The pay policies in effect in the three countries where we operate envisage pay increases immediately after an employee completes one year of service.

Because we seek to recognise and reward employees for meeting their objectives, based on a culture of meritocracy, variable pay is an important part of our compensation policy.

Despite the impact of the pandemic on our businesses, we ensured payment of the 2019 performance bonuses to all managers (26 million euros) and to operational teams (43.6 million euros), an overall investment of almost 70 million euros.

At the end of 2020, a special bonus of 200 euros was awarded to the operational teams (stores and distribution centres) of Biedronka, Pingo Doce and Recheio in recognition of all their dedication and effort while working on the front line to ensure everyone had access to essential goods. The investment in these additional recognition mechanisms amounted to 20 million euros.

In 2020, 189 million euros (around 38% more than the amount paid in 2019) were paid in the form of variable pay and recognition bonuses to reward the achievement of objectives, recognise attitudes and conduct, and as a thank you for all the dedication and commitment shown by our people. The extraordinary recognition mechanisms implemented in 2020 accounted for 16% of total variable pay and corresponded to an investment of more than 30 million euros.

189 M€
in bonuses awarded to employees
30 M€
Extraordinary recognition measures during the pandemic

As at 31.Dec.2020

Independent Verification

Information on employee training and compensation, including transition support programmes, was confirmed by an external and independent entity for the Group’s 2020 Annual Report.