Posted October 14, 2021

Competition for Warehouse Workers Increases as Holiday Season Approaches

Competition for Warehouse Workers Increases as Holiday Season Approaches
By Sarah Mehlert

More than a year and a half after the coronavirus pandemic began, its effects on the economy and the job market are still being felt. As we approach another holiday season, it is evident that employee shortages will surely be a factor for retailers scrambling to prepare for their busiest time of the year. Warehouse workers always play a vital role in preparing for the holiday rush. While employers have always ramped up hiring for these positions around the holidays, typically offering temporary seasonal positions to keep up, demand is higher than ever before. Along with a rise in e-commerce, there is an unprecedented employee shortage happening, especially when it comes to these roles, and some companies are facing stiff competition from larger companies that are also increasing hiring efforts. As employers look to expand their hiring, they are offering everything they possibly can to entice warehouse workers to apply, including hefty sign on bonuses, higher wages, college tuition assistance and more. For job seekers, this means that now is a great time to get into the industry and take advantage of the heightened wages and benefits currently being offered.

There are several factors causing the labor shortage in warehousing, from covid-related health concerns, higher unemployment benefits being offered, lack of affordable childcare, as well as employees leaving for other professions after being handed more hours and more labor-intensive duties to make up for the lack of available staff. Companies are also struggling with product shortages and shipping delays which are having a domino effect on their supply chain operations. Warehousing veterans may not take well to the extensive perks being offered to newcomers that were not an option for them, so employers must not only increase their hiring efforts, but must also focus on keeping their current employees satisfied by offering them some of the same perks.

Many retailers that would typically focus their recruitment efforts on seasonal retail workers are pivoting to instead focus on logistics and supply chain staff as e-commerce continues to rise in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. E-commerce is typically more labor intensive for warehouse workers as there is more picking and packing of individual orders as opposed to wholesale orders, as well as a higher rate of returns for items, all of which must be received and processed. As most experts don’t see e-commerce slowing down soon, companies are left scrambling to hire enough warehouse positions to meet their demand this holiday season, by any means necessary.

Afraid that they won’t have the manpower to fulfill orders, some companies are resorting to artificial intelligence to close the gap. Robotics and automated systems are on the rise and are beginning to be used in warehouses to perform picking and sorting tasks that would usually fall on the warehouse employees. While robotics may partially help to ease the effects of the labor shortage, employers still have a huge need for warehousing staff which isn’t likely to end any time soon.

The labor shortage is being experienced by companies big and small industry-wide and the competition between retailers to hire warehouse staff is extremely fierce. Many smaller companies fear that they won’t be able to match the benefits and perks being offered by their bigger counterparts. Retailer giants may have the ability to offer higher wages and sign on bonuses that small companies may not have the funds for, but these companies are still desperate for staff and are offering anything and everything they possibly can to attract employees, including extra vacation days, free childcare, tuition assistance, employee discounts, flexible shifts and more. This competition works in the favor of the job seeker by diversifying their opportunities and allowing them to be selective.

As a result of the shortage, wages in the industry are being driven up and it has become a job seeker’s market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly earnings for the warehousing and storage industry are up from $20.80 in March of 2020 to $22.71 in August of 2021. With hundreds of companies hiring and offering high wages and comprehensive benefits, job seekers have the opportunity to pick and choose which opportunities they want to pursue based on what is best for them and their families. Some employers have begun to offer shorter shifts as well, to accommodate employees who are without childcare or are otherwise unable to spend 8-10 hours in the warehouse every day. In this tight market, employers have no choice but to be accommodating in order to attract and retain employees.

There is no doubt that retailers everywhere are feeling the sting of the labor shortage, especially as we begin another holiday season where e-commerce continues to trend upwards. Employers are increasing their recruitment and hiring efforts in a big way as they compete with each other for warehouse staff. Many of them recognize that it is a job seeker’s market, and they must offer competitive wages and benefits in order to have a fighting chance this holiday season. There are a record number of job openings in the warehouse and transportation industry this year, which may widen even further. If you are interested in beginning a career in the warehousing industry, there has never been a better time. These jobs offer high wages, full benefits, job security, as well as all of the added perks being thrown in to attract workers. Job seekers have the opportunity to find the perks and benefits that are most important to them and choose the exact company and position that is the right fit for them, something that wasn’t necessarily an option in the past. posts hundreds of new warehousing positions daily with hundreds of different companies. Find your right fit today!