Trouble for retail shopping this holiday season


Header Image: Dallas Morning News

Elizabeth McLaughlin, Editor

Between November and January, retail sales are expected to rise by eight percent from last year, according to the professional service network Deloitte’s holiday retail forecast. On top of that, Deloitte also said that e-commerce sales are expected to rise by up to 15 percent. Given the growing labor shortage, holiday shopping might be a much bigger headache this season, for both the consumer and the retail suppliers.

According to Melissa Hassett of the staffing agency ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions, “Hiring intention in the upcoming quarter is higher than ever.” Potential employees can anticipate benefits such as debt-free bachelors degrees, higher wages, quadruple-digit sign-on bonuses and more. Walmart is even offering ACT and SAT prep courses for free to high school employees. Last week NBC’s Leticia Miranda said, “Amazon announced that it will hire 125,000 employees at an average starting wage of $18 per hour with a $3,000 sign-on bonus.” In a move that is very telling of the times, Best Buy is hosting a virtual job fair, seeking to fill more than 5,000 positions.

Over the summer, restaurant chain Denny’s equipped a 53-foot kitchen truck to travel the country in a nationwide hiring effort. McDonald’s introduced a child care program to attract potential employees with kids. Additionally, McDonald’s announced a 10 percent increase in wages for hourly workers in May. The following month, the fast food chain had its “largest month of hires in the last couple of years,” according to McDonald’s U.S. Chief People Officer Tiffanie Boyd. Employers are desperate for workers; in recent months, “the bargaining power and the labor market has shifted toward job seekers,” according to Nick Bunker, economic research director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab.

For months, federal pandemic unemployment benefits offered people a more attractive alternative to working in a retail environment; they could make more by filing for unemployment than most companies were willing to pay them. Last week, most of these benefits expired. Despite this, retailers are still having a difficult time filling positions. On average, it takes 40 days to fill a retail position, a 21 percent increase from April this year, according to talent cloud company iCIMS. Another factor that makes people hesitant to go back to work is the concern regarding contracting COVID-19. Companies have introduced extremely attractive benefits in order to combat pandemic-induced unemployment, but it seems that health remains the main concern, a concern that will undoubtedly change the way we shop this holiday season.

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