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Our people    

Being an employer of choice


To mark the launch of our new Home Energy Service, M&S employees were offered free loft or cavity wall insulation. We expect to insulate over 30,000 homes, saving around 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

For more information about Plan A see here or visit

Our people are fundamental to the delivery of our core values. It is their talent that drives innovation and their commitment that upholds the high standards of quality and service our customers expect. Attracting and retaining talent is essential to our long-term growth and will ensure the business is in the best possible position to capitalise on opportunities as we emerge from recession. Despite ongoing economic uncertainties, we have continued to invest in our people this year.

We have improved our benefits package with a new wellbeing offer, set out plans to engage colleagues in plan a and provided tailored training programmes. our aim is to uphold our reputation as an employer of choice, ensuring M&S remains a great place to work.

M&S number of employees
Employee turnover rate
Number of our people who have been with us for over five years
Number of our people who have been with us for over ten years

Training and development

Providing meaningful development opportunities is critical to our talent strategy. We want to identify and nurture our future leaders, as well as provide engaging and relevant training to employees across M&S.

Our development programmes include:
Lead to Succeed
This year over 100 of our most senior employees have completed our flagship leadership programme, ‘Lead to Succeed’. This programme is built around our brand values – Quality, value, Service, Innovation and Trust – and aims to identify and develop our pipeline of talent for the future.

Managing for Success and Leading with Impact Last year we launched the first phase of this training programme for the 2000 line managers across M&S.

Your M&S Career Path Employees across the UK and Republic of Ireland benefit from your M&S Career Path training and learning programmes. Section and Store managers receive tailored workshops and all newly hired customer assistants complete a thorough 26 week induction.

Graduate schemes Our graduate scheme is an essential part of our talent pipeline. Designed to fast track candidates to management, the two year scheme is one of the most popular in the sector. This year’s scheme attracted over 9,300 applicants for 165 places.

Work experience Through Business in the Community’s Work Inspiration Campaign, we have pledged to offer 2,000 work experience places each year. We have worked with schools, universities and the Fashion Retail Academy to help bridge the world of education and work and provide more young people with meaningful work experience.

Marks & Start Launched in 2004, Marks & Start is our work experience scheme for the homeless, disabled, lone parents and young unemployed. Participants are paired up with an M&S buddy, providing a rewarding development opportunity for employees. This year we have also reviewed our head office induction programme and since February 2010 all new joiners are required to complete a week’s store attachment to provide a better insight to the business.

Rewards and benefits

M&S continues to offer a competitive reward package, with a generous retirement plan, Sharesave options and bonus scheme. It’s important to recognise and reward hard work and excellent customer service, even in a difficult trading environment. This year, our customer assistants were awarded a ‘Sharing in Success’ bonus, receiving between £200 and £500 each.

We take a holistic approach to employee benefits, encouraging a happier, healthier workforce. Our WorkWell scheme supports staff with a stress management programme and we continue to provide two year breast screening cycles for female employees and female partners of employees. We have introduced a your Wellbeing website, a dedicated portal that provides all staff with access to health and wellbeing information, as well interactive tools to help monitor their progress.

Getting involved

Research has told us that increasingly people make a decision about the company they want to work for based on its social and environmental agenda. Employees need to trust their employer to act responsibly towards them as individuals and increasingly they want to be able to trust a business to act in the best interest of society. Plan A provides an excellent platform for M&S to demonstrate its ethical and eco commitment to current and future employees. As part of this year’s relaunch we set out to further engage colleagues in Plan A and encourage them to lead greener lifestyles.

All M&S employees are now entitled to a paid day off to volunteer in their local communities and we have introduced Plan A targets into the bonus framework for senior executives. We continue to recognise the work employees do across the community and in the workplace with our annual Plan A volunteer awards.

A year of celebration

Last year M&S celebrated its 125th anniversary and our people were at the heart of the celebrations. To mark the occasion we set colleagues a 125 Challenge, to raise £1.25m for local community charities in 125 days between May and September. M&S stores and offices up and down the country got involved – from bake sales to cycling challenges and even hiking 84 miles along Hadrian’s Wall – our colleagues rose to the challenge and smashed our original target, raising £2.8m.

Our 125th year was topped off with a gala party, with colleagues across the country coming together to celebrate.

Communicating with employees

Against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainty, it’s vital that we maintain an open dialogue with all employees. We do this through a number of channels including:

Business Involvement Group (BIG) is made up of over 3,500 elected staff representatives from across M&S. BIG represents employee views on matters relating to work and employment, leading consultation processes on behalf of stores and head office.

Director Breakfasts Informal Q&A sessions for store colleagues with business unit leaders.

In-store listening groups Regularly hosted by store managers so any issues can be communicated to Head Office

M&S Intranet Our employee portal, updated daily with announcements from the business, as well as regular news from the wider retail sector.

Quarterly results broadcast A regular financial update to all employees, outlining the Company’s performance

Top 100 briefing A monthly cascade of Head Office information to top managers.

Your M&S Employee magazine Bi-monthly magazine that provides employees with features on the latest M&S initiatives and employee stories.

Your Say Survey

Launched in 2006, our annual employee Your Say Survey provides us with a comprehensive view of employee opinion. Response rates for our most recent poll were up 3% to 94% participation and our overall positivity score increased to 74% demonstrating the progress we have made in a challenging year.

This year, we added questions to the survey to help individual line managers identify what they are doing well and where they need to improve. Following the survey, each line manager will now receive a Manager’s Personal Report.

Looking ahead

A great business is founded on great people. As we look forward we will continue to harness the full potential of all of our employees so we can emerge as a stronger and more competitive business.

We will do this through ongoing investment in our people, ensuring that our employees have the right skills to support our growth ambitions and that they have the opportunity to fully understand the plans and priorities of the business.