Target, Walmart Win at Hiring This Holiday Season

The big box retailers use competitive pay, perks to attract workers.

November 19, 2021

Target Employee

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Walmart and Target are not worried about hiring for the holiday shopping season, reports CNBC.

With many companies struggling to find and retain employees, Walmart hired 200,000 workers in its third quarter. For holiday season prep, Walmart plans to hire 150,000 new U.S. store workers, most of which would be for permanent and full-time roles. Target’s approach is slightly different. It’s hiring 100,000 new temporary workers to meet seasonal demand, which is less than it normally hires for the holidays, and is giving more hours to current workers instead.

Walmart and Target are able to retain and attract workers through competitive pay and free college benefits. Walmart pays on average $16.40 in the U.S. Target’s minimum wage is $15 an hour, and it is paying its team members an extra $2 an hour if they work on a Saturday or Sunday between Nov. 20 and Dec. 19, as well as Friday, Dec. 24 and Sunday, Dec. 26.

Target CEO Brian Cornell told CNBC that Target’s worker retention numbers are “some of the strongest in our history,” which he credited to the investments it has made in terms of wages, perks and safety.

CNN reports that Target achieves its staffing goals by retaining the employees it has. The average hours a store employee works is "running significantly higher this year in comparison to past years," Target Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan said on an earnings call.

Walmart saw an increase in staffing levels once federal stimulus checks stopped. "When the stimulus dollars started to go away, the hiring situation changed faster," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said to CNN. "We saw people come back in a matter of weeks."

Amazon, Starbucks and Costco have all increased their starting wages to attract new candidates. Costco raised its starting wage for hourly store workers in the U.S. from $16 an hour to $17 last month—the second time this year Costco has raised its wages. Starbucks also announced it will raise wages at least twice next year, which would bring its starting pay to $15 an hour by next summer and its average pay to $17. Amazon’s average starting wage is $18 an hour.

The struggle to find labor has some companies rethinking job qualifications, as well as the types of incentives used to attract employees. Many companies are dropping the education requirements and background checks for applicants, including The Body Shop, and CVS no longer requires college graduates to submit their grades, while UPS is offering jobs in as little as 10 minutes to some employees.

In what has been called “The Great Resignation,” Americans are leaving their jobs in droves, and employees younger than 35 are leading the way. In September, a record 4.4 million people quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, not including retirements.

Are you looking to hire? NACS has conducted extensive research on what people want in jobs to help retailers communicate the context of jobs by showcasing how they tie into what applicants care about most and what they treasure from previous jobs. Additionally, NACS Magazine dived into how to hire the Gen Z workforce—by understanding what this generation wants from an employer.