July 16, 2024

Retailers Scramble to Attract Workers Ahead of the Holidays

In stores, Mr. Smith said, “we have changed our shift structure so you can do two- or four-hour shifts” in an attempt to “make it a lot easier if you’re juggling family responsibilities.”

The company has also sought to emphasize its unique benefits, including several paid days off for employees to pursue outdoor experiences.

The challenge of finding workers has put a spotlight on how difficult many retail jobs are and on the short shrift given to many store workers during the worst of the pandemic. They were regularly exposed to Covid-19 and involved in customer conflicts around wearing masks, and they were inconsistently offered hazard pay or other compensation for their efforts. Many retail workers said that they were not properly informed when they were exposed to the virus in stores.

Anthony Stropoli, a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, holds one of the lucrative, client-facing jobs that have been fading in retail in recent years and he noted that luxury retail was a different ballgame. He previously worked at Barneys New York, which filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

“A lot of people do not want to work in retail right now — I really, really see it,” Mr. Stropoli said. “People are not feeling appreciated or fairly compensated, and I think this whole Covid thing has made them really rethink that. They want to feel valued.”

It all means that workers have more leverage this season than they have in the past. Joel Bines, global co-leader of the retail practice at the consulting firm AlixPartners, said if retailers want to find enough workers this season, they need to pay them more and fundamentally improve working conditions.

“For retailers, who have treated their workers as dispensable cogs in order to increase the bottom line, to say they are shocked that they can’t find people to work for them is hard to believe,” Mr. Bines said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/08/business/retail-hiring-holidays-workers.html

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