Retailers need seasonal workers, but do workers need retailers?
Many retailers are planning on bringing on temporary employees this holiday season to manage the added influx of customer traffic and orders. But low unemployment is pushing retailers to up their offers in hopes of convincing potential temps that working the Christmas season is worth their while.
In their attempt to court holiday workers, retailers have been starting early in the season and offering higher wages, profit-sharing and even paid time off for those willing to come on board, according to The Wall Street Journal. Kohl’s and J.C. Penney started hiring seasonal workers in June, three months earlier than usual. And J.C. Penney is offering one-week of paid time off for part-time hourly workers. Target raised its starting wage for employees hired after September 16 to $12, and Macy’s has begun offering bonuses to full- and part-time staff who meet sales and online fulfillment goals.
The technological demands of the new economy may also require retailers to be more certain of their seasonal employees’ baseline technical skills when they come on board for Christmas. Significantly more seasonal hires than last year at chains like Macy’s and Target will be focused on e-commerce operations and fulfillment.
Even without the expected holiday customer boom and corresponding need for additional staff on the floor and in e-commerce fulfillment, this year retailers have found themselves in a tough spot when trying to hire and keep qualified talent.
Stagnant wages well below the standards of other industries, a lack of flexible hours and a tendency of retailers to bring on workers part-time and without benefits has led qualified employees to seek work in areas with better prospects, according to a study cited on Industry Insider.
The tight labor market has had an impact on other parts of the retail supply chain, too. Walmart has been having difficulty finding qualified long-haul truck drivers to hire, according to Bloomberg. The chain has begun to offer referral bonuses of up to $1,500 and is drastically reducing the duration of the new hire onboarding process.
- Out of Stock This Holiday Season: Store Workers – The Wall Street Journal
- Top Five Sectors Exposed to Labor Shortages in 2018 – Industry Insider
- Macy’s plans for a very digital Christmas with seasonal hires – RetailWire
- Walmart Doubles Spending in Battle for Truckers – Bloomberg
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the incentives offered by J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Target and others successfully attract the quality of seasonal talent the chains need to manage the holiday season? Do you see retailers falling short of their seasonal hiring numbers, and what should they about it?