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Making the grocery moolah

Responsibilities are piling up at the executive level, but base pay isn’t exactly reflecting that

Chloe Riley 2.jpgChloe Riley is the Executive Editor of Supermarket News, which delivers the ultimate in competitive business intelligence, news and information for executives in the food retail and grocery industry. A graduate of the School of Journalism at Columbia College Chicago, Chloe previously served as a Digital Strategist at SEO firm Profound Strategy, Associate Editor at B2B hospitality mag HOTELS Magazine, as well as CEO of her own digital strategy company, Chlowe. She lives in Woodstock, Illinois. 

Inflation played a big role in executive grocery salaries this year. While overall base salaries for many top executives in the supermarket industry saw little change in 2022, many ended up earning significant bonuses based on their performance in what was another strong year for grocery industry sales, even if those sales were largely driven by inflation.

“When it’s a banner year for the industry, that tells you that it’s also going to be a banner year in terms of bonuses,” said Jose Tamez of executive search firm Austin-Michael.

It may have been a banner year in some respects, but base salaries certainly didn’t reflect that. Data from Austin-Michael shows that for grocery companies of all sizes, the base salaries of CEOs, chief operating officers and chief financial offers — the top-three highest paid positions in the industry — were all unchanged from 2021 to 2022. 

And while C-suite base salaries remain flat, the responsibilities for many at that level just continue to increase. Skills sets required for many corporate-level jobs in the supermarket industry have evolved significantly in just the last few years, according to Tamez, and more than ever, a high level of analytical capabilities is required in these roles, as data-driven decision making has become increasingly ubiquitous.

New data analytics capabilities, the enduring popularity of ecommerce, and ongoing competitive pressures are all creating turmoil in the industry, leading many grocers to rethink their labor needs and role responsibilities, while at the same time striving for more efficiency and higher productivity. 

Basically: there’s more to do, but not necessarily more money with which to do it. How is your company prioritizing labor right now? Reach out and let me know at [email protected]. And keep doing the good work. 

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