A recent Wall Street Journal article categorized what is happening this 4th quarter, in anticipation of the holidays, as “a hiring frenzy."
Across the country retailers and other companies have announced that they will be hiring a record 704,000 people into seasonal jobs, the most ever announced. Retailers like Target are adding 120,000, Kohl’s 90,000, Macy’s 80,000, Gap/Old Navy 65,000, J.C. Penney 39,000 and then there are the distributors and shippers like Amazon, UPS and FedEx, which are adding another 255,000 new workers.
So what are these companies doing to meet their seasonal hiring needs?
In order to meet demand, in a period where we are above full employment, retailers, logistics firms, transport, and warehousing companies are all competing for the same type of talent and are increasing their employee offerings this holiday season to attract potential workers. Amazon announced their new minimum wage at all locations is now $15/hr effective Nov. 1. Target raised its seasonal starting wage to $12/hr and is offering gift card incentives. J.C. Penney is presenting vacations and “prize packages” to workers. Kohl’s and Gap/Old Navy are offering special shopping days for employees with discounts of 35-50% on premium brands. Game Stop is even offering anyone that works from Oct 21 – Jan 8, one additional week of pay as a bonus for completing the holiday season.
You may be wondering why this matters to you if you are not trying to hire seasonal workers.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that whatever these companies do to meet their hiring needs in the pivotal fourth quarter, it typically does not completely go away once the holiday hiring season is over. We should all expect, as long as unemployment rates stay at record lows, that wages will not revert back much, if at all, in 2019. We should also anticipate more companies becoming creative with the benefits and perks they are offering to attract new employees and keep existing workers. There is a likelihood that flexibility with work schedules, the ability to work remotely, and even the opportunity to job share will become increasingly more commonplace.
Our advice is to conduct a quarterly wage analysis and compare your wages against the rest of the market with regard to the skills you need (don't solely look at job titles and duties). Next, review your benefits plans annually, including your paid time off policy, to ensure you are offering a comprehensive and competitive plan. Lastly, determine if you have any unique benefits, perks, or employee programs that will help you attract workers and then integrate those into your recruitment campaigns.