In a sign of just how proactive employers need to be in the current US labor market, Kohl’s announced last week that it was already taking applications for seasonal positions for the coming autumn and winter, CNN Money reported:
Kohl’s is filling jobs at 300 of its 1,100 US stores for the back-to-school and holiday seasons. Additional jobs at stores and fulfillment centers will come open later in the year. It’s the earliest Kohl’s has ever started hiring seasonal workers, said Ryan Festerling, the store’s executive vice president of human resources.
Seasonal hiring has been increasingly competitive in the US over the past few years, with retailers hiring seasonal help earlier and having a hard time finding the numbers of workers they need. These large employers are hiring store staff by the thousands, but also lots of warehouse and fulfillment roles: a sign of the growing impact of e-commerce. Last year, some companies opted for alternative strategies like giving more hours to existing employees or hiring work-from-home customer service representatives, as means mitigating their need for extra on-site staff in the tight market.
Employers started searching for seasonal talent early and aggressively for the ongoing summer season as well, with industries like construction, landscaping, and home improvement, as well as travel and tourism, finding it necessary to offer choosier seasonal candidates more flexible schedules and better work-life balance, along with uncommonly large signing bonuses. Combined, home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s were looking to fill 130,000 positions this season, a challenge for which they began preparing months in advance: Home Depot began piloting its new “Candidate Self-Service” app last November. The need for seasonal workers also spurred Congress to expand the H-2B seasonal guest worker visa program in the spending bill it passed in March, nearly doubling the number of visas available for US employers to 129,547.
Two years ago, it was considered newsworthy when retailers began hiring for the holidays in October; if Kohl’s is getting started in July, that probably means they expect an even tougher market for employers this winter, Steve Boese reasons at his blog. Getting a head start on recruiting could help the retail chain beat the rush:
For the talent pool for retail holiday season help, Kohl’s has gotten ahead of the likely competition for these workers. This story has been in the news a fair bit, and people who are thinking about looking for these kinds of jobs this year might consider Kohl’s before other retailers – especially since they can apply right now.