The state of seasonal hiring: How retail employers are navigating the labor shortage

December 15th, 2021
Employer Branding,

As the world adapts to new ways of living in the pandemic, travel is up, schools are back in session, and employees are starting to trickle back to in-person work — in some industries.

In November, leading department chain Macy’s asked employees in their corporate offices to volunteer for shift work in the retailer’s stores this holiday season, due to severe labor shortages during their highest sales period of the year — and they’re not alone.

Many employers are struggling to find the workers they need, especially for customer-facing, hourly-paid roles, which reflects a sharp pendulum swing compared to early pandemic days, when unemployment reached decades-long highs.

With the urgency for employers to meet holiday demand this season, many companies are changing their tactics to win over holiday job seekers. As the pandemic continues to shape the labor market, it’s clear that seasonal hiring is no exception. Here are 4 ways that seasonal hiring looks different in 2021.

Higher minimum wage

For employers, competition for seasonal work is high, leaving many to re-evaluate the one thing that attracts most seasonal employees – pay. This year, seasonal employers are much more likely to earn bigger paychecks and work fewer hours than in years past. 

Some of the bigger retail chains are leading the way by drastically increasing hourly pay to fill jobs and keep existing employees from being recruited away. Target recently announced that they plan to hire 100,000 seasonal employees nationwide, and will be raising their minimum wage for seasonal employees by nearly 15%, from $15 per hour to $17 per hour.

Increased perks and incentive pay

Along with higher pay, employers are also increasing company perks to attract the people they need. Generous offerings, which were previously not available for most hourly workers — such as tuition reimbursement, signing bonuses, and childcare — are now becoming the norm.

 For example, L.L. Bean has converted all of their call center positions into fully remote roles, and now offers shift flexibility so employees can choose hours that work best for their schedule. And Amazon warehouse jobs are offering signing bonuses up to $3,000 with the average starting pay at $18 per hour.

 For companies like Amazon who are hiring 50% more workers than last year, incentives are critical to sweeten the deal.

Hiring made easier by virtual interviews

And what about the hiring process? In a season where hiring teams need to find the best people fast, technology like HireVue’s interview software is helping hiring teams quickly evaluate candidates without demanding that they commute to an office to do so.

Virtual hiring can cut time-to-hire by 90%, making it easier for more candidates to make it through your hiring process. And with technology that integrates with your ATS, recruiters save time, too.

 That’s why recently, a bix box retailer put flexible interviewing into action by hosting a virtual hiring fair for this year’s seasonal hiring. They also added video interviews where they were able to fast-track hiring, all from the convenience of online videos.

Replaced seasonal hiring with permanent hires

Many seasonal jobs are on track to become permanent this year, with companies like Walmart saying they plan to transition seasonal hires into permanent and full-time roles.

 Meanwhile, Walmart’s competitor Target is scaling back on seasonal hires and giving current employees the option to take on more hours, instead. And it seems to be working. Target’s CEO says that their retention is “some of the strongest in our history.”

Make changes now to quickly win talent in a tight labor market

Seasonal hiring may look a little different this year, but with the right strategies in place, employers can gain the attention of job seekers, even amidst labor shortages and increasing demands.

HireVue’s automated hiring experience equips recruiting teams with the technology they need to make better hiring decisions, faster. Candidates no longer have to wait to schedule an interview, sift through pages of open roles looking for the right match, or commute to an office for an interview; now, it’s as simple as sending a text message to apply for a new job. Then, an automated hiring assistant walks candidates seamlessly through the job-matching and interview scheduling process, while on-demand interviews empowers them to interview from anywhere, at anytime.

Don’t waste time doing things the way you always have — see HireVue in action, and schedule a demo today.