Fall 2021: Retail Hiring Forecast

The COVID-19 crisis certainly threw a wrench into how retail businesses typically operate. With safety restrictions making it tricky to make purchases in person, e-commerce reigned king when it came to shopping during the pandemic. 

But with things heading “back to normal,” we can expect to see the number of in-person purchases made at brick-and-mortar stores increase drastically. Will retail businesses have enough employees to meet the demand as shoppers return to stores? Time will only tell, but for now check out our predictions for retail hiring in fall 2021.

Safety First!

Respect for and protection of “essential workers” played a huge role in hiring during the COVID-19 crisis. Because of this, the importance of safety in retail working environments won’t go away anytime soon. Workplaces that prioritize the safety of their employees will have a competitive advantage over those that do not. And while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently released mandatory workplace safety rules to protect employees against COVID-19, retail environments that go above and beyond will have the upper hand when it comes to securing top retail talent. 

Fortunately, business leaders now rank safety and employee well-being as their top concern according to a survey conducted by Oasis. With workers’ needs and leadership’s goals beginning to align when it comes to safety, there is definitely a bright future ahead for employee protections in the workplace.

Government Incentives

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, so too have some of the added unemployment benefits many Americans received over the past year-and-a-half. 

Recently, 26 states chose to discontinue the additional $300 weekly unemployment checks earlier than expected in the hopes of encouraging people to return to work. These same states are now offering various “return-to-work” bonuses to incentivize folks to take jobs in the very immediate future.

On the other hand, businesses hiring employees in states that have not discontinued extra unemployment benefits will have to stay cognizant of potential unemployment extensions. While these government programs impact the job market across every sector, businesses in search of a large number of workers stand to gain a dramatic increase in their workforce. 

Regardless of the effects of these government programs, their impact will shape the conversation around high volume retail hiring this fall. 

Recruiting an ‘HRmy’

With demand for retail workers through the roof, retail businesses will undoubtedly be trying out a number of new tactics to make the hiring process run smoother and hire more employees faster. Retail businesses will rely on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) like Fountain that can streamline and simplify the hiring process, thereby improving the candidate experience. 

Moreover, in addition to hiring more retail staff, companies will also focus on building out their HR teams to deal with the added challenges of hiring hourly workers post-pandemic. Indeed reported that job listings for HR roles are up by 52.5%, which is much higher than most other job sectors. With recruiting demands taking center stage at companies across the country, HR teams need more support than ever before. Between improved hiring technology and broader HR teams, we can expect to see an increased focus on recruiting and talent acquisition this fall.

After a year-and-a-half of the “new normal,” companies are experiencing an even newer normal in regards to hiring and recruiting. While the full effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the hiring economy remain to be seen, one thing is certain: this fall, it’s definitely a retail job seeker’s market.