Holiday hiring may go back to the dot-com boom days
Retailers are planning to hire more than 800,000 seasonal workers for the quickly approaching holiday selling season, perhaps reaching the nearly 850,000 hired in 1999, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Retailers have been adding to their seasonal payrolls, from a recent low of around 325,000 in 2008. Total hires for the fourth quarter of 2013 came to 801,1000. That number was achieved by a dramatic increase in hiring in December when retailers added 176,500 jobs.
"The last two years saw holiday hiring return to prerecession levels," John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm, told CNBC. "This year, we could see hiring return to levels not seen since the height of the dot.com boom."
Retailers will be hiring more workers this year for jobs other than working on the sales floor. The increase in online purchases means companies are looking to put bodies in distribution centers and stores to handle digital orders.
A survey by Hay Group found 24 percent of retailers (compared to nine percent last year) plan to hire more seasonal staff to improve support across multiple channels. Twenty-nine percent plan to increase seasonal staffing levels in distribution centers.
Hay Group also found that retailers are looking to not only add more workers, but to improve the quality of hires for the holiday season.
"Retailers can no longer settle for point-and-sell stockers when it comes to staffing their stores," said Maryam Morse, national practice leader for Hay Group’s retail practice, in a statement. "Consumers now expect a seamless shopping experience across channels. To respond to this demand, retailers must have well-trained and nimble in-store employees who can serve as true brand ambassadors, leading customers to the point of sale, regardless of where the product resides."
- Merry Christmas! Hiring may hit dot-com boom level – CNBC
- 2013 Holiday Retail Hiring Highest Since 1999 – Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
- Hay Group Study Finds Retailers Cautiously Optimistic About 2014 Holiday Sales, While Ramping up their Focus on Omnichannel Sales – Hay Group/Business Wire
- Holiday hiring forecast is up; online buying boosts delivery jobs – The Dallas Morning News
How do you see retail hiring for the holidays changing? Will retailers be successful in training temporary help to become “brand ambassadors” and not just extra bodies on the sales floor during the holiday season?