Macy’s Inc. is staffing up for the busy shopping season ahead, adding 76,000 roles across stores, warehouses, call centers and more.
The retailer — which operates the Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluemercury banners — announced holiday hiring plans on Tuesday that approached pre-pandemic levels, a sign of the industry’s ongoing, if uneven, recovery. Permanent positions account for more than a third of the new job openings, and in its announcement, Macy’s touted its history of keeping seasonal workers on its payroll long after the Christmas decorations have been moved to the clearance section. Last year, it said, more than 6,100 holiday hires took permanent roles at the company after the season.
The emphasis on opportunities for steady jobs and room for growth may be tied to the challenges that retailers like Macy’s are facing this year in finding enough workers to hire.
As of the end of July, there were close to 11 million job openings throughout the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was an all-time high, beating the previous month’s record by 750,000 additional jobs.
Many of those openings are going unfilled by qualified candidates, however: The economy added a disappointing 235,000 jobs in August, while the retail sector lost 29,000 jobs. While pandemic unemployment benefits have now ended for most Americans, many retail workers are not eager to return to positions where low pay, unreliable hours and stressful conditions have long been the norm. Today, associates remain on the front line of customer disputes over masks and vaccines, and many workers still harbor fears of the virus and may not have reliable or affordable childcare.
Many major retailers are offering incentives and higher starting wages to entice candidates: At Kohl’s, hourly store, distribution center and e-commerce fulfillment center employees who work through the holidays will be eligible for a bonus of between $100 and $400. Amazon, meanwhile, bumped its average starting wage to more than $18 per hour to meet its goal of hiring 125,000 fulfillment and transportation employees, with some warehouses offering a $3,000 sign-on bonus.
Macy’s will hold a hiring event at more than 500 stores nationwide on Thursday, September 23, though the company is encouraging candidates to apply online and says many applicants will receive an offer the same day.