Retailers have scaled way back on seasonal help for Christmas
Amid a continued tight labor market, holiday help appears to be less in demand this year due to the souring economy.
Challenger further found that, as of the first week of November, companies had announced plans for 592,400 hires for the holiday season, a 37 percent decrease versus last year.
“Companies may be reluctant to announce their seasonal hiring plans, even if they do intend to hire, due to economic uncertainty,” said Andrew Challenger, SVP of Challenger, in a statement. “Some may not want or need to make a hiring push right now.”
Target last year reduced seasonal hires but gave more hours to current staff over the season. Walmart and Kohl’s are both planning similar tactics this year. Macy’s also plans to hire less holiday help.
Networking app Alignable’s 2022 Holiday Hiring Poll taken from mid-September to mid-October found 15 percent of mom and pop retailers hiring temporary staff, down from 32 percent in 2021. Forty-six percent say they are not hiring any workers for the rest of the year “as they tell us that they just don’t have the revenues to cover these people,” according to Alignable’s press release.
A retailer survey taken in early September by workforce management firm UKG found only 40 percent planning to hire seasonal workers, 35 percent recruiting fewer seasonal workers than last year, and a third scaling back all hiring for the remainder of 2022. UKG said, “Recession rumblings are giving retailers heartburn as they battle inventory storage costs, eroding margins, expensive employee turnover, and unpredictable consumer spending.”
A recent Accenture survey of 150 U.S. retail execs still found 57 percent taking “extraordinary” measures to address workforce challenges. These include higher pay demands, slow interviewing/recruitment processes, high attrition, training newbies and upskilling existing colleagues.
In a Forbes column, Jill Standish, senior managing director and global head of Accenture’s Retail industry group, said demands for more flexibility and meaningful work presents newer labor challenges for retail. She wrote, “For retailers, meeting these deeper needs can be easier said than done.”
- Seasonal Hiring Update: Retail, Transportation & Warehousing Companies Add Fewer Jobs Than Last Year – Challenge, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
- Holiday Hiring Slumps To New Low: Just 7 percent of Small Biz Employers Seek Seasonal Help – Alignable
- The Employment Situation — October 2022 – Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Accenture’s 16th Annual Holiday Survey Shows Workforce Labor Is Top of Mind for Retailers – WWD
- Planning for the holidays with greater precision – Accenture
- Retailers Grapple with How to Manage Customer Expectations, Staffing Issues Entering Another Unconventional Holiday Season – UKG/Businesswire
- In A Workers’ Market What Steps Can Retailers Take To Prepare For The Holidays? – Forbes
- Kohl’s won’t reveal one number that retailers talk about every holiday season – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Walmart To Welcome 40,000 Associates To Deliver for a Great Holiday Season and Beyond – Walmart
- Macy’s, Inc. to Hire Colleagues for More Than 41,000 Seasonal Positions – Macy’s
- Walmart Slows Holiday Hiring With Plan to Add 40,000 – The Wall Street Journal
- Searches for seasonal jobs are up 33%—but stores like Walmart and Macy’s are pulling back on hiring – CNBC
- Will reducing seasonal hires pose a big risk for Target? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is it prudent or hasty to significantly pull back on seasonal hires amid inflationary pressures and the uncertain economy? Will a reduction in hires affect the quality of customer shopping experiences during the holiday season?