Retailers hire tens of thousands of temporary workers for the holiday season
Supermarkets are rushing to hire tens of thousands of temporary workers to cope with what is likely to be a bumper Christmas.
Some of the country’s largest grocery stores have so far said they are looking for at least 74,000 additional workers to help them cope with demand.
Marks & Spencer became the latest company to announce it was hiring thousands of extra staff for retail’s important golden quarter.
The High Street stalwart said yesterday it will hire 10,000 temporary workers for the festive period, more than 40 per cent more than last Christmas.
M&S, which last month rejoined the FTSE 100 after a four-year absence, said it needs more staff to help customers in the workshop.
Hiring: M&S has been boosted by rising sales in its food and clothing departments, with actress Sienna Miller (pictured) fronting its latest womenswear campaign.
The temporary workers will start working on November 19.
M&S chief operating officer Sacha Berendji said: ‘This year we are recruiting even more colleagues to ensure there is always someone available to offer support and recommendations. The Christmas season is a busy but exciting time for M&S and no two days are the same.’
Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket, said last week it was hiring 30,000 temporary employees. Sainsbury’s has said it will accept 22,000 more. Waitrose, Morrisons and Aldi are also strengthening their workforce.
Jonathan De Mello, an analyst at consulting firm JDM Retail, said that grocers’ hiring campaigns are “starting earlier than before.”
This is because retailers have reduced permanent staff hours over the past year to save money, he said. At the same time, shoppers are preparing early for Christmas to spread the cost.
And pressure is mounting on retailers to make sure they start their hiring drive early enough to get the workers they need. Amazon will bring in 15,000 temporary workers for the Christmas period.
Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of professional body Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said labor and skills shortages meant thousands of seasonal roles were left unfilled this summer.
He added: “If they don’t get their hiring plans right, many stores, warehouses and showrooms will not be able to provide the customer service needed at this critical time in their business cycle.”
Supermarkets are fighting a fierce battle for business as traditional chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons face competition from Aldi and Lidl.
German discounters have seen their sales soar as the rising cost of living hits customers in the pocketbook, forcing them to look for cheaper alternatives.
Tesco has led the fight and earlier this month said shoppers are stocking up on frozen food and starting to think about Christmas.
M&S has also been boosted by rising sales in its food and clothing departments, with Layer Cake and American Sniper actress Sienna Miller fronting the latest womenswear campaign.
Shoppers are thought to buy more Christmas gifts from supermarkets this year as they buy them from other retailers.
“With the reduction in income, many of those donations will be made well in advance,” De Mello said.
The recruitment drive comes at a price, he warned, with shopkeepers “paying more than expected” for temporary workers as wages soar.
They are also using perks such as discounts, voucher codes and the promise of free food during the shift to attract potential employees.
Many holiday workers “live largely in squalor” and a seasonal job in a supermarket will represent a “second, third or even fourth job” for many people, he said.