While many businesses have been forced to close their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, supermarkets, pharmacies and major retailers are hiring new employees in response to increased consumer demand.
“In response to this crisis, people have really changed the nature of their demand,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc., in an interview with the Tribune.
“As you see that reflected, I think it’s important to note that while these job openings are a good sign that there is still life in the economy, they are going to be really competitive positions because there are far more people that have lost wages over the last two weeks than there are positions opening up.”
Now retailers such as Amazon, CVS Health, Dollar General, Instacart and Walmart are gearing up to employ thousands of new workers across the country.
This week, Instacart announced plans to hire 300,000 workers during the next three months, to address the surge of consumers shopping from home.
Walmart is hiring 150,000 associates for its stores, clubs, distribution centers and warehouses. The company has started a new process to expedite hiring for key roles, such as cashiers and stockers. What is usually a two-week application cycle will be reduced to a 24-hour process.
“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO said in a statement.
“We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”
Amazon said it wants to hire 100,000 workers for its warehouses and delivery service to deal with increased demand.
CVS Health plans to provide bonuses, add employee benefits and hire 50,000 full- and part-time workers. The bonuses will range from $150 to $500 and will be awarded to pharmacists and certain other health care professionals on the front lines.
“Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they’re needed most,” Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Health said in a news statement.
“As they continue to be there for the individuals and families we serve, we’re taking extra steps to provide some peace of mind and help them navigate these uncertain times.”
The company will utilize a technology-enabled hiring process that includes virtual job fairs and virtual interviews to hire store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and member/customer service professionals.
Dollar General plans to bring on 50,000 new employees to support operations by the end of April.
Save A Lot, a discount grocer with stores across the U.S., seeks to hire more than 1,000 employees to fill varying job opportunities within its retail and distribution centers.
“Now more than ever, our teams are working around the clock in our distribution centers, stores and offices to keep shelves stocked so that we can serve customers,” President and CEO of Save A Lot, Kenneth McGrath said in a statement.
“I am very grateful for the amazing team members we have across the organization and their outstanding commitment to our customers. It takes many hands to feed America, and we need more hands.”
And Misfits Market, a fresh product delivery service, is hiring more than 100 workers in the Greater Philadelphia area. The company plans to hire production associates at its Pennsauken, New Jersey, warehouse to meet the rising demand among the 24 states it serves.
Locally-owned Domino’s franchises want to fill 700 new full- and part-time positions throughout the Philadelphia region.
“While many local, state, and federal rules are closing dine-in restaurants, the opportunity to feed our neighbors through delivery and carryout continues,” said Salim Joarder, a Domino’s franchise owner in the Philadelphia area.
“We want to make sure we’re not only providing food to people, but also delivering opportunity to those who are looking for work.”
And while some cities and states have instituted stay at home orders to help keep the coronavirus from spreading, Challenger doesn’t think that will deter many job seekers from applying for these newly offered positions.
“I think you will still see a very competitive group of people looking to fill those roles because there hasn’t been a suspension of paying rent or paying bills and a lot people lost their wages,” he said.
“I think there is still going to be a long line of people looking for these jobs despite the extra concerns about safety in those roles.”
The hiring blitz comes as the pandemic has already caused thousands of job losses across various sectors including the entertainment, hotel, travel and bar and restaurant industries. Developers of the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index estimate that some 37 million domestic jobs are vulnerable to layoffs due to shutdowns created by the coronavirus outbreak.