Retailers ramp up hiring for holidays and supply chain help 

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 536 views 

Amazon, Walmart and other retailers have announced plans to increase payrolls ahead of the holiday season. Walmart plans to hire 20,000 employees to help with holiday rush and the growing e-commerce business.

Those jobs will range from part-time to full-time but Walmart said the positions will be permanent and not seasonal. The new jobs will be in the supply chain as freight handlers, lift drivers, technicians and management positions at distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation offices. Walmart will hold four local hiring events next week (Sept 8-9) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Bentonville, Rogers and Clarksville. Applicants can get more information about the job opportunities online.

Joe Metzger, executive vice president of supply chain operations at Walmart U.S., said as the company grows its business the customer’s needs are also evolving and this is pushing Walmart to reinforce its supply chain division with the 20,000 new hires.

“We know that offering competitive pay is essential in order to build a network for the future. The average wage for supply chain associates is $20.37 per hour. At Walmart, what starts as a job has the potential to lead to a limitless and rewarding career. Whether you’re new to the workforce or you’re looking for a fresh start, this is the place to continue your professional journey,” Metzger said in his corporate blog post Wednesday (Sept. 1).

Amazon also said Wednesday it plans to hire 55,000 people for corporate and technology jobs across its global footprint. Amazon said 40,000 of the new jobs will be in the U.S. Amazon will hold its annual career day event on Sept. 15. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday Amazon needs more firepower to keep up with demand in retail, the cloud and advertising, among other businesses.

“There are so many jobs during the pandemic that have been displaced or have been altered, and there are so many people who are thinking about different and new jobs,” Jassy said, and referred to a recent PwC survey that indicated 65% of U.S. respondents were interested in changing jobs.

More traditional holiday hires have been announced by Aldi, Dollar General and Kohl’s. Dollar General is in the middle of a major hiring campaign that will add 50,000 employees in the next few weeks. Much of the hiring is tied to the 1,050 new stores the retailer will add over the next year.

“At Dollar General, we are uniquely positioned as the nation’s largest retailer by store count to serve customers through our expansive network and provide access to careers in the communities we call home,” said Kathy Reardon, Dollar General’s chief people officer. “With more than 17,400 stores located within approximately 5 miles of 75% of the U.S. population, we’re excited by the favorable impact we can make on the current job market and individuals looking to join our growing team.”

The Dollar General hiring campaign will include a $5,000 signing bonus for Class A Commercial drivers and a referral bonus for new hires in the retailer’s distribution centers.

Aldi said it plans to hire more than 20,000 new store and warehouse employees to support its expansion across the United States and prepare for a holiday season that’s expected to be busy. A national hiring event will take place Sept. 20-24 in stores and warehouses that have openings for store workers, cashiers, stockers and warehouse positions across the U.S. Aldi recently raised the pay for starting wages to $15 at stores and $19 at warehouses.

Kohl’s added 5,000 workers over the summer and has said it will add another 5,000 seasonal workers by October. Kohl’s will also hold a national hiring event between Sept. 16 -18. from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. with bonus opportunities for some positions.

Retail trade group National Retail Federation said the retail and supply chain hiring blitz comes at a time when the labor pool is tight. Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at NRF, said the constrained labor pool is forcing retailers to pay higher wages, bonuses and boost benefits, and they still struggle to fill job openings. He warns of future inflationary pricing pressures because of the increased spending by retailers.

“Consumer spending is currently far above pre-pandemic levels thanks to unprecedented monetary and fiscal policies that have backstopped demand by putting money into wallets,” Kleinhenz said. “But as the economy moves forward into the later months of 2021, federal aid will be tapering off and there will be an important focus on the ability of the labor market to generate ongoing strength in wages and salaries to support spending. U.S. consumers remain in the mood to spend but the labor market and job creation will play an increasing role in their ability to do so.”

Kleinhenz said monthly child tax credit checks bring extra income to many consumers but supplemental unemployment benefits are coming to an end and most federal stimulus checks have either been spent or set aside in bank accounts.

The Employment Cost Index, which includes wages, benefits and other factors to measure total compensation costs while factoring out shifts between industries or occupations, grew 2.9%, its largest increase since the end of 2018, Kleinhenz reported.