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U.S. retailers compete to lure workers in the face of a labor crisis


For more than 30 years in the retail business, Ken Gideon said, “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Rothmans, who runs the men’s clothing business with his brother, has not only survived the epidemic but is expanding from three outlets in New York to four. Finding a competitive deal in a new location, everything is set to open, 10 people can’t be found to hire new stores without Gideon. Two potential workers promised to join, only to be dropped.

Gideon’s challenge is being felt by employers in industries ranging from nursing homes to trucking companies, where after 18 months the benefits of health risks, lack of child care and increased unemployment have left millions of Americans out of the workshop.

But the shortage of people willing to work in shops and warehouses is particularly acute. The number of unpaid retail jobs rose to nearly 550,000 before the Covid hit the country this July, with employers rushing for the holiday season, the crucial few months where most chains split in proportion to their annual sales.

While Gideon is struggling to find just 10 employees, Dix Sporting Goods is now looking for 10,000 to meet the expected demand between now and Christmas. Kroger and Michael are each looking for 20,000 seasonal workers, while Amazon, with which traditional traditional retailers compete for both customers and employees, has 125,000 on the market.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said: “There is not enough staff in the supply chain so it will affect everything from easy availability in stores to inability to meet all online orders.”

“The store’s floor line could be longer and there will probably be fewer staff to assist customers,” he added: “This is going to be a challenging holiday season for retailers.”

With several people already raising wages since the epidemic began, Walmart has raised the minimum hourly rate at its Sam Club this month from $ 11 to $ 15. But even these toughest, largest companies in the labor market are hanging on to new incentives that are more than what they gave in previous years.

The average hourly income line chart (8) shows that retail wages have risen through the epidemic.

Amazon is talking about signing a 3,000 3,000 bonus, giving General Drivers a 5,000 5,000 starting bonus, and Macy’s paying its current employees up to $ 500 if they mention a friend or family member. The department store chain, which expects to employ 20,000,000 seasonal workers, is telling potential applicants that job interviews can be done online in just five minutes.

Walmart has reduced its hiring process from two weeks to about two hours, while making it easier for new recruits to qualify for subsidized college education. Best Bio offers seasonal workers a 5% to 25% discount on college fees, cheap gym membership and savings in insurance plans for their homes, cars or even pets.

Professor Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School, said more retailers are also creating those incentives to encourage in-house employers, keeping in mind the risk of staff shortages by the end of the year. And while they’re fighting each other for higher wages and bigger benefits, some are adding incentives to keep them from jumping on board for more experienced workers.

For example, Target said Thursday it would hire 100,000 people for the holiday, down from 130,000 last year, but would offer existing employees an additional 5m hours a season at a cost of about 75 75 million.

Big Lotus, meanwhile, told analysts last month that it was adding a “stay bonus” to retain existing employees within the next month, and increased the enjoyment of discount workers at its store by 20% to 30%.

However, there was little incentive on the offer to be satisfied to speak in favor of better conditions for retail employees.

Corporate Accountability, Bianca Augustine said, “Workers want to see one-time hiring bonuses or quick correction incentives that do not address the underlying problem of enormous risk during their ongoing epidemic and loss of their physical and mental health.” Director of United for Respect.

He argued that retailers should instead raise the basic wage to at least 15 15 an hour, pay a further ড 5 per hour on “risk pay”, guarantee adequate wage closures, and give workers a voice in decision-making.

Retailers are not just adopting strategies. Craig Johnson from Consumer Growth Partners, a consulting and research firm, says some stores are now adding self-service registers to save checkout workers or direct consumers to re-direct their ecommerce operations, which requires fewer people to fill orders.

But the incentive is now driving retailers to “fight for employees,” Cohen said, and “retailers that are unable to do so will struggle to fill their positions”.

Most individual store owners fall into that category. Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist, said small retailers had shown “a great innovation.” But, he added, “where small firms can’t compete is the minimum wage.”

Which is carried by vote. Over the past three months, shares of small retailers that they find too difficult to rent have jumped from 47 percent to 62 percent, said Chuck Casto of Alinbell, who conducted the survey.

Gideon’s company is among them. “We can’t refund tuition,” he said, or what other retailers are offering. “We are a small company. It is impossible to compete with the little boy [the] Big boys. “



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