- Amazon is upping its minimum wage to $15 an hour and making a competitive value proposition to retail workers at a time when competitors are seeking thousands of those same workers for the holidays, CNN Business reports.
- Target announced plans earlier this year to increase its minimum wage to $12 an hour, with a further increase to $15 and hour planned for 2020. That came after Walmart's announced plan to increase starting wages for its hourly associates to $11 an hour at the tail end of the last holiday season.
- But wages aren't the only recruiting strategy being into play by Amazon competitors. Target, for example, is offering in-store and online discounts as well as a gift card program (named work.win.give) that will select one hourly team member from each of its stores and distribution centers to receive a $500 gift card, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports. Plus, the physical demands of e-commerce jobs may mean they're not for everyone, CNN Business said, and workers unable to meet those demands may prefer other customer service-type roles.
Initial forecasts of seasonal hiring in 2018 indicate strong demand. An estimated 400,000 workers will be needed to fill openings at retailers in various industries, according to analysis by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Target is planning a push to hire 120,000 employees this season, matching that of Amazon in 2017, while Macy’s plans to add 80,000. The lowest unemployment rate in decades promises to make the competition fierce.
Amazon's push to raise wages is in part a response to external pressures after it was reported many of Amazon staff members were living below the poverty level and relying on public assistance benefits. The company also paid a group of its fulfillment center employees to defend the company and its working conditions on social media. News of the minimum wage increases met mixed reception both in the public and among workers, and the increases did come at the cost of bonuses and stock options for holiday workers — though there has been some wavering on that front.
Companies are getting creative when it comes to hiring seasonal workers: offering signing bonuses, employee discounts and more. Businesses that can’t maintain staffing levels during busy periods like the holidays risk losing customers and sales. Recent partnerships with organizations like the National Retail Federation Foundation may allow employers to more easily hire and train new workers, but it will remain to be seen if supply can meet demand amid a thin talent market.