More than 216,000 employees, from checkout operators to drivers and managers, will receive a share of a record £105m bonus pot after the supermarket giant reported annual profits of £3.5bn, which comes on top of £24m in pay and bonuses for the executive management.

In addition, 75,500 staff who have held shares in the firm’s ‘Shares in Success’ scheme have become eligible to sell the £39m worth of shares they were awarded five years ago tax free.

In the firm’s annual report, published last week, Tesco revealed it advertised more than 7,000 new jobs t and created 328 positions for the long-term unemployed through Regeneration Partnerships.

It also pledged to create an extra 16,000 new jobs this year, including 9,000 in the UK and 380 for the long-term unemployed, and said it was committed to providing opportunities to turn their jobs into careers.

“We believe that even in difficult times it is essential to invest in future talent,” the report said. “That’s why this year, while many other businesses were cutting their graduate schemes, we increased our graduate intake to 810, including 535 in Asia.”

Speaking about the shares payout, non-executive chairman David Reid said: “We’ve had Tesco’s best ever year in a really challenging economic climate and that success is down to the hard work and skill of the whole Tesco team. At home and abroad, they’ve helped build a great business by doing what we do best, delivering for customers. I am delighted that once again all staff are sharing in this success.”