ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Retailers are gearing up for a busy summer season, but they need team members to keep their operations flowing smoothly. From now through June 15, the Pennsylvania-based Wawa c-store chain is offering $500 bonuses to new employees hired as full- or part-time customer service associates, fuel associates or night supervisors. The bonus is paid after 90 days on the job.
Currently, the demand for retail and foodservice workers is high and competitive. In March, NACS Daily reported that Wawa launched a spring hiring campaign with the goal of bringing 5,000 new team members onboard. At the same time, Sheetz and The Pilot Companies held special hiring days to attract more applicants, and Circle K reported it was seeking 20,000 new team members as COVID-19 cases decline and more people began to shop and travel. Rutter’s also announced it would raise the starting wage for its employees to $14 an hour.
Meanwhile, Chipotle has announced it will increase its starting wage to $15 an hour by the end of June in hopes of attracting 20,000 new workers company wide. Plus, the company has introduced employee referral bonuses of $200 for crew members and $750 for apprentices or general managers. Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said today’s labor market is among the most challenging he’s seen in his career in the foodservice industry.
According to CNBC, the National Federation of Independent Business announced that in March, 51% of business owners reported few or no “qualified” applicants, while 42% of all owners reported job openings they couldn’t fill, a record high reading and 20 points above the group’s historical average over the last 48 years of 22%.
As NACS Daily reported yesterday, Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations, NACS, recently penned an op-ed for the Washington Times, regarding the issue of finding qualified labor. “While nearly 10 million people are looking for work, businesses from across the country and in a variety of industry sectors report a shortage of willing workers. Normally, people who want work and businesses who want workers find one another, but that is not happening now,” Beckwith wrote.
While the labor shortage is being driven in part by the fear of contracting COVID-19, “this is being compounded by economic incentives, such as unemployment payments. Many unemployed people may be receiving nearly as much (or, in some cases, more) for not working than they would working. While that might not last forever, it may be keeping some people home for now, or at least until they can get vaccinated or otherwise feel less concerned about the COVID risk,” he wrote.
Listen to Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa, discuss how Wawa experiments within its portfolio to shape a workplace that welcomes innovation and serves as the launching point for careers in our Lessons in Leadership Learning series. In addition, hear from Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Alimentation Couche-Tard; Travis Sheetz, president and COO of Sheetz; and other leaders, give exclusive interviews to NACS about making choices to increase employee productivity and planning for the next generation workforce. Watch their Lessons in Leadership today.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.