Retailers Are Struggling to Hire

(This article was written by Jennifer McKevitt for Supply Chain Dive).

Dive Brief:

  • As retail warehouses grow and expand, the need for workers to staff them becomes increasingly critical, Forbes reported Wednesday.
  • The number of people working in warehousing and storage tallies roughly 950,000 in the U.S., though more are needed according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  •  From 2011 onward, warehouse worker growth has been dramatic, resulting in nearly 40,000 new jobs a year.

 

Dive Insight:

The ongoing battle between Amazon and other e-commerce sites and brick-and-mortar retailers is particularly contentious when it comes to employment. With consumers abandoning retail at a rapid pace, it seems that future employees aren't keen to sign on to what may be perceived as a sinking ship. 

And while Amazon's recent hiring fair in Baltimore saw 20,000applicants when it needed only 1,200, 3PLs like FedEx are also competing with retailers, offering more benefits and usually better pay than retailers. The fact that perks exist for workers who stay on past peak season in December (though hiring starts in August) also indicates that the opportunity for long-term flexible work is more likely to be found at a 3PL than at a retailer, which often requires demanding hours, especially during the holidays.

But there are exceptions: in recent years, chains like Target hired roughly 70,000 seasonal workers, while Walmart, though hiring 60,000 extra hands for the holidays, notably describes them as temporary, meaning that the chance to stay on, let alone receive benefits, is unlikely. Retailers might struggle near peak season as 3PLs snap up workers wanting full-time jobs with higher pay and benefits, unless retailers can offer something more attractive and competitive.