Companies Rethink How to Hire

Relaxed education requirements, no background checks, unique perks and more money are all on the table for applicants.

November 09, 2021

Help Wanted Sign

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Companies are scrambling to hire employees in a labor market that has ample job openings but far fewer applicants. The struggle to find labor has some companies rethinking job qualifications, as well as the types of incentives used to attract employees, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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 October, the jobless rate for workers with only a high-school diploma fell to 5.4% from 5.8% in September, according to the Labor Department. The rate for college graduates dropped to 2.4% in October from 2.5% a month earlier.

Some companies are offering perks to attract and retain employees. A common perk is free college tuition, which is offered by Target, Walmart and other companies, but companies are starting to get creative with what they offer their employees, reports the Wall Street Journal. David’s Bridal lets its employees model apparel—and get paid for it. A tech company allows workers to take the company van, equipped with a bed, toilet and shower and Wi-Fi on family road trips so they can combine family time and work time. Levi Strauss & Co. is offering free computer coding classes, and JBS USA Holdings Inc. is helping to build homes for employees to buy.

Other companies are letting the money talk with generous starting pay and sign-on bonuses. Costco raised its minimum starting wage to $17 an hour, and Walmart is paying as much as $17 an hour for starting employees, reports the New York Times. Target starts its employees at $15 an hour but is offering an extra $2 an hour during peak holiday store hours. Macy’s is offering referral bonuses of up to $500 for each friend or family member that employees recruit to join the company. Amazon offers a signing bonus of up to $3,000 for some warehouse jobs.

Companies also are implementing flexible scheduling, including for low-wage workers, reports Quartz. Target offers an app that lets employees swap shifts with co-workers. Starbucks is testing a similar “shifts app” allowing employees to work shifts that meet their personal needs. Amazon announced its employees can cancel a shift in as little as 16 hours before it begins or can swap shifts with other employees at the last minute. Job postings offering “flexibility” jumped from 6.4% in 2016 to 20% in 2021, according to data from ZipRecruiter.

Retailers are feeling the pressure to hire before a busy holiday shopping season is in full swing. The National Retail Federation projects sales between November and December will rise between 8.5% and 10.5% for a total of between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. The projection tops last year’s numbers and would mark a new all-time high, reports CNBC.

To help convenience retailers attract and retain top-notch people, NACS partnered with the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute in January 2020 to bring the Good Jobs Strategy to the industry.

A recent NACS webinar explored how retailers can attract and hire team members today and in the future. From virtual hiring to job shadowing, retailers are employing a host of ways to find and connect with potential workers.