Target, in a tight labor market, lowers holiday hiring goal

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Target will hire fewer seasonal workers this year as it navigates a tight labor market and will instead offer more hours to current employees.

About 100,000 seasonal workers will be hired nationwide, the company said Thursday, about 30,000 less than last year. Many of those workers will be offered jobs beyond the holiday season.

Employers have struggled all year to find enough workers. They’ve increased hourly pay, announced signing bonuses and cast aside previous minimum standards like a high school diploma. Companies are also making applications more convenient. UPS this month said it will hire more than 100,000 people for the holiday rush and many of them will get a job offer within 30 minutes of applying.

In its own bid to attract more workers last month, Target said that it would spend $200 million over the next four years to offer its workers free undergraduate and associate degree programs as well as certificates in business-oriented majors at select institutions.

The decision by Target to lower its hiring goals might be shared by others. Global recruiting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. predicts retailers will add 700,000 workers during this year’s holiday season, more than 36,000 fewer than in 2020, though hiring before the pandemic struck was particularly robust and hires this year outpace those of 2019.

Retailers are now focused more on hiring people who will stay rather than temporary, seasonal workers, said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

And employers are trying to better accommodate the workers they can find.

Target, based in Minneapolis, is allowing a lot more potential flexibility through a new mobile scheduling app that allows workers to choose shifts or swap with other employees.

Many of the jobs now held by Target employees did not exist before the pandemic. More workers are serving in roles that allow customers to pick up goods ordered online at the store, or to pick them up curbside. The number of positions dedicated to getting customers what they want, where they want it, has tripled over the past two years, according to Target.

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5 thoughts on “Target, in a tight labor market, lowers holiday hiring goal

  1. Nothing is going to happen without providing childcare. A large portion of the workforce – especially those looking for low-skill jobs at Target and UPS – can’t work unless they have good childcare.

    It is good that we’re seeing employers pay for education and raise wages to help with attracting workers. Corporate America has not been keeping pace with inflation when it comes to low-skill wages. Hopefully we see this trend continue.

    1. Yes instead of the non stop people don’t want to work because of enhanced unemployment why aren’t we hearing the issues with child care? Many centers closed when parents kept kids home. Those that reopened reduced head count to attempt to make facility safer. Add all of this to the cost of child care per child and this is probably reason 1 or 2 why people aren’t returning to retail/restaurant jobs.

    1. Yes, Jeff, you’ve done one story. This has been a problem all through the pandemic, and has been made worse by bigger employers (finally) raising wages.