Will fewer holiday hires hurt customer service levels?
Some retailers are making the strategic decision to hire fewer seasonal workers this year, raising the concern that stores will have fewer associates available to wait on customers. Chains such as Target and Toys "R" Us, however, claim they will maintain service levels by giving more hours to permanent staff as well as the temporary employees they have hired.
Target announced the company would hire 70,000 seasonal employees, the same as in 2014 and 2013, to help meet the holiday rush. Toys "R" Us is hiring 40,000 workers, 5,000 fewer than last year.
One of the factors that may limit holiday hiring is the number of permanent full- and part-time employees that retail companies have brought on since the beginning of the year. Retailers hired nearly 450,000 people between March and August, up from 437,000 for the same period in 2014, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Other limiting factors are the jobs that retailers are looking to fill.
"Changes in the way consumers shop are making it possible for stores to meet increased holiday demand with fewer extra workers. When retailers do add holiday workers, fewer of those jobs are in traditional spots, such as sales clerk or cashier," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
- 2015 Holiday Hiring Outlook: Retail Flat But Other Industries May Gain – Challenger, Gray & Christmas
- Target Kicks Off the Holidays with Plans to Hire 70,000 Team Members – A Bullseye View
- Toys "R" Us to Hire 40,000 Employees Nationwide As It Ramps Up For 2015 Holiday Shopping Season – Toys "R" Us
What factors are convincing retailers to hire fewer seasonal workers this holiday season? Do you think there is reason for concern, based on the industry’s hiring plans, about the service levels customers will find in stores this Christmas?