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3 Seasonal Hiring Trends in Retail and E-Commerce

The holiday season is in full swing, but what does that mean for staffing agencies, recruiters, and other HR professionals in the bustling world of retail and e-commerce? Here’s a look at three trends happening in seasonal hiring as 2019 rolls into a new decade.


1. Seasonal hiring: what to expect?

According to this deep dive by HR Dive, high-profile retailers are fighting for talented retailers to accommodate the holiday rush this December. “Target, for example, is hiring more than 130,000 seasonal team members across its stores and distribution center.” As the article points out, there are at least three tactics you can take to fulfill the high demand for talent in the retail industry.

Understand conditions and act quickly.
“With the tight labor market, retailers, fulfillment centers and transport companies will have a difficult time finding and attracting talent.”

As a tight talent market strengthens its stranglehold on retailers, many hiring managers and business leaders will rely on third-party services such as recruitment process outsourcing from organizations such as Broadleaf Results.

Form a talent acquisition plan.
“In addition to competitive wages, a number of retailers last year offered signing bonuses, discounts or special shopping days for associates.”

Depending on your brand and budget, you might be looking for creative ways to attract new employees who can accommodate the uptick in consumer action. How can you incentivize job candidates? Talk to your employees and navigate social media to find out what they value, such as employee discounts and high pay.

Prioritize qualifications.
“Seasonal workers generally need to be dependable, flexible and punctual.”

The HR Dive article seems to put a premium on employees who can:

  • Learn a lot of information quickly
  • Handle heavy lifting and manual work
  • Execute soft skills


2. Retail rules seasonal hiring.

CNBC recently published an article about a “tectonic shift in retail,” citing that “big retailers are set to hire some 790,000 seasonal workers this year.” But with new workers in such low supply, some retailers are offering additional hours to existing retail staff. Additionally, some lawmakers are requiring companies to offer extended hours to their current employees before recruiting new ones, and to also offer part-time workers extended benefits as well. Ultimately, some retailers are seeing up to 40% of their seasonal employees stick around, staying on staff even after the holiday rush has ended.

To find out how the retail world is shaking up in 2019, watch this video from CNBC.


3. Seasonal hiring is evolving.

According to an article by BizWomen, USA Today recently reported that “a number of delivery and warehouse companies didn’t hire as many seasonal workers as they would have liked,” which means there is still a hiring need in these industries. And when you consider how the e-commerce industry has brought in record sales worth nearly $16 billion—that’s billion with a “b”—the demand for delivery people might far outweigh the supply.

Conversely, major retailers got a head start on seasonal hiring by bringing aboard new workers in August and September, and the total number of seasonal workers could reach 590,000 across the country, which is up from 554,000 in 2018.

So, what does this mean for staffing agencies, recruiters, and other HR pros like you? Well, the most important statistic of all, perhaps, is this: “About 80 percent of HR staff say it’s challenging to find the time to onboard these seasonal workers, and 72 percent struggle to handle the paperwork that comes with onboarding those workers.”

To accommodate the influx of hires and difficulties of onboarding, business owners would be smart to implement total talent management services from Broadleaf Results.


Did you know that Broadleaf Results is your preferred partner in talent and workforce management solutions? To learn about hybrid RPO solutions and the seven best practices for successful RPO partnerships, download our e-book today!


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