The help wanted signs for seasonal jobs are out, yet finding enough workers may be more difficult for the nation’s biggest retailers in an increasingly tight labor market.
With unemployment under 4 percent, there will be little slack from the job market, producing quality employees looking for seasonal work which much harder to find.
Stores, websites in addition to delivery companies have advertised more than 330,00 seasonal job openings so far, according to employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in addition to most economists expect which number to more than double in coming weeks.
While the total number of seasonal job postings will be about in line with past years, with unemployment at historic lows, the idea may be harder to fill the roles. Companies will have to offer more perks, higher wages in addition to recruit non-traditional workers to fill their openings, economists say.
Online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter says the idea had twice as many retail job openings This specific August than last August.
“We are seeing more openings than applicants, with about 144,000 [openings] to 117,000” applicants, said ZipRecruiter labor economist Julia Pollak. “The same applicant number, yet for twice as many jobs This specific year.”
Diane Swonk, chief economist for Grant Thornton, will be not sure retailers will be able to fill all the open jobs, which could lead to a more frustrating shopping experience.
“I think we’re going to see [labor] shortfalls, which means even more lines” says Swonk. “Usually one of the best indicators for how the economy will be how bad the service will be because they cannot staff up enough.”
Retailers need the help, with forecasts calling for a robust holiday spending season. Various consulting groups predict holiday sales will grow between 3 in addition to 5.6 percent, topping last year’s strong results in addition to the historical average.
Josh Wright, chief economist of talent acquisition software company iCIMS, said the tight labor market opens up opportunities. “Employers will also be giving more chances to workers with fewer opportunities — younger, less experienced, less educated, in addition to minority candidates,” he said.
Wright has some hopeful advice for those looking for work This specific holiday season.
“Potential workers should be prepared to get recruited like never before, because employers will need to work harder than ever This specific season to bring in talent,” he said.
Kohl’s started off its holiday hiring earlier than ever This specific year in June. The Wisconsin-based department store will be looking for 0,000 seasonal workers in stores in addition to in e-commerce, in addition to wanted to hold the first crack at the best employees.
the idea also gives Kohl’s plenty of time for training, which can be an important way for retailers to differentiate their shopping experience by others.
“The kinds of workers which come on seasonally, are often different than the long-term career workers, with the exception of recent grads which need a stepping stone” said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at job search site Glassdoor. Seasonal “workers need to be on-boarded appropriately, or there’s a risk of diluting the brand in addition to the quality of customer interactions”.
“During these tight labor markets in addition to better economic times, in addition to the people they get behind the counter have less skills” says Swonk. “which will be the reality in addition to which also means they’re going to have to pay up for people.”
Wages are important, yet additional incentives in addition to longer-term opportunities can also help retailers stand out. Flexibility, for those which just want seasonal work, will be also an important option according to Chamberlain.
“Offering bonuses in addition to not bad pay doesn’t hurt” Chamberlain said. “yet what makes [seasonal workers] happy will be having not bad conditions, morale in addition to ability to pick up some things on the job like completely new training or skills.”
Most retailers will continue to offer employee discounts, in addition to meals on big shopping days like Black Friday. Kohl’s in addition to Target are among those also offering gift card drawings. Target says its received 20 percent more applications This specific year than at the same point last year, which the idea attributes to its starting $12 per hour wage.
This specific year, Macy’s seasonal employees will be eligible for a completely new bonus program, just like its year-round staff.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette will be confident the department store will find its 80,000 holiday jobs.
“We prepared with This specific” Gennette said at the Code Commerce conference in completely new York City on Monday. “When you saw the tailwinds which are helping our business, the record low unemployment, you better have a plan.”
Gennette said Macy’s turnover has declined by last year, which he attributes in part to a completely new bonus program available to all employees, including seasonal help.
Swonk says, while the idea’s been years since teenagers flooded the workforce, which may be changing This specific season. “We’re seeing more teens participate than they did from the past although we’re still closer to record lows than record highs on teen participation from the labor force.”
Companies typically recruit students, recent graduates, retirees, in addition to “gig workers,” like uber drivers or Instacart shoppers, for holiday work. FedEx will be looking for 55,000 seasonal employees in addition to rival UPS wants 100,000, both upping their holiday hiring by 5,000 by last year.
According to Chamberlain “there are 16 million Americans working in contingent or alternative work today (aka the “gig economy”) which retailers could potentially tap with This specific type of seasonal work”
Retailers are also competing with hotels, restaurants in addition to others from the hospitality industry which also bulk up staffing during the holidays. Swonk says which yet the pressure will be ratcheting up as the experience based economy heats up as Americans travel in addition to eat out more.
“There’s an extra layer of competition for seasonal workers, where at one point in time, which wasn’t as much of an issue,” she said.