U.S. retailers have been struggling to fill vacant positions before the holiday shopping blitz at a time when the economy continues to see a large number of job openings.
To get ahead of this disparity, a number of companies have ramped up their hiring efforts — from Kohl’s early start in mid-July to Amazon’s attempt to fill a pool of 30,000 open positions. While some are increasing wages to lure qualified talent, others are turning to perks like flexible schedules and time-off benefits to attract workers.
Here, FN rounds up the retailers that have already begun gearing up for the holidays.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
On Monday, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would host another National Signing Day on Oct. 16 to support seasonal hiring in its stores across the country. Roughly 8,000 jobs are ready to be filled, with in-store discounts among the perks offered for potential hires. Applicants will be interviewed at their local Dick’s outpost.
“Our in-store teammates are the key to providing the exceptional customer service experience and insights our customers expect,” said VP of talent JP Elliott. “We want to ensure that customers who come into our stores feel they leave excited, confident and equipped to achieve their athletic endeavors.”
In 2018, the company aimed to hire 5,000 new workers for the holidays.
Gap hosted a one-day hiring event last week across the United States and Canada, as it looks to tap seasonal associates for its flagship brand as well as for the Banana Republic, Athleta, Old Navy, and Janie and Jack banners.
In addition to hiring for its stores, the firm also sought workers at its distribution and customer contact centers. It made plans to hire as many as 5,000 employees, who will be trained in such skills as mobile point-of-sale devices and buy online-pick up in store procedures.
Gap is also offering team member discounts such as 50% off regular-priced merchandise at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, 30% off at Outlet and Factory, and 25% off at Athleta.
Two months before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Target launched its search for seasonal workers. It plans to add more than 130,000 temporary employees, compared with last year’s 120,000 additional hires.
About 125,000 positions will be in stores, while 8,000 team members will work at fulfillment and distribution centers. The retailer is also doubling the number of seasonal hires focused on completing online orders from its 1,800-plus outposts. It did not specify the number of roles it would dedicate to this task.
Target has also noted that more than 40% of 2018’s seasonal workers remained at the company post-holidays. To stay competitive with rivals Amazon and Walmart amid a tightening labor market, the Minneapolis-based firm is offering a minimum starting wage of $13 per hour. (It had previously unveiled its commitment to hit a $15 hourly wage by the end of 2020.)
Kohl’s early start to the holidays kicked off months before annual hiring sprees typically begin. In mid-July, the retailer put out a call for seasonal workers and began staffing up across 500 of its stores, nearly double the number of locations that sought “early wave” positions in 2018.
Additionally, the Milwaukee-based company is working on training employees in mobile checkout, buy online-pick up in store and other services. It is also hiring about 3,000 store associates for omnichannel roles and its customer service departments, as well as distribution and fulfillment centers.
Last year, Kohl’s revealed plans to beef up its workforce even earlier — at the end of June. The retailer announced that same December that it had surpassed its hiring goals for the 2018 holiday season, employing more than the anticipated 90,000 associates at its 1,100-plus stores, nine distribution centers and five e-commerce fulfillment centers across the country.
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