In a brutal labor market, Target trims holiday hiring goals as Macy’s, USPS seek area workers

Target employees refold clothes displayed for sale at a store in Jersey City Nov. 27. U.S. retail sales rose 7.9 percent between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, excluding cars and gas, with women’s apparel and furniture seeing the biggest gains, according to figures from MasterCard Advisors. For all of November and December, sales were up 4.6 percent -- slightly better than expected. Must credit: Bloomberg photo by Michael Nagle.


Target will hire fewer seasonal workers this year as it navigates a tight labor market, instead offering more hours and flexibility to the employees it does have.

About 100,000 seasonal workers will be hired nationwide, the company said Thursday, about 30,000 less than last year. Many of those workers will be offered jobs beyond the holiday season.

Employers have struggled all year to find staff. They’ve increased hourly pay, announced signing bonuses and cast aside previous minimum standards like a high school diploma. They’re are also making applications more convenient. UPS this month said it will hire more than 100,000 people for the holiday rush and for many, a job offer from UPS will come within 30 minutes of applying.

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In its own bid to attract more workers last month, Target said that it would spend $200 million over the next four years to offer its workers free undergraduate and associate degree programs as well as certificates in business-oriented majors at select institutions.

Target does not appear to be alone in the decision to lower its hiring goals. Global recruiting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts retailers will add 700,000 workers during this year’s holiday season, over 36,000 fewer than in 2020. Hiring before the pandemic was particularly robust, however, and hires this year outpace those of 2019.

Retailers are focused more on hiring people who will stay rather than temporary, seasonal workers, said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

And employers are trying to better accommodate the workers they can find.

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Target, based in Minneapolis, is allowing a lot more potential flexibility through a new mobile scheduling app that allows workers to choose shifts or swap with other employees.

Many of the jobs now held by Target employees did not exist before the pandemic. More workers are serving in roles that allow customers to pick up goods ordered online at the store, or to pick them up curbside. The number of positions dedicated to getting customers what they want, where they want it, has tripled over the past two years, according to Target.

Other retailers have also announced hiring plans for the holidays. Macy’s Inc., which has several locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is planning to hire more than 800 in the area this season.

Nationwide, Macy’s announced plans to hire approximately 76,000 full- and part-time colleagues at its Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury stores, call centers and distribution and fulfillment centers. Approximately 48,000 of these roles are for the holiday season, while the remaining roles are permanent opportunities to join the Macy’s on a part- or full-time basis for the holidays and beyond. 

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Also looking to hire locally is the U.S. Postal Service.

This year, the Postal Service plans to hire more than 40,000 seasonal employees for the 2021 holiday peak season. In Texas, the Postal Service is looking to hire more than 4,800 seasonal employees.

CEO and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently came to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and met and heard from USPS employees and stakeholders as he promoted local hiring efforts and investments that are key to the seasonal preparations for the agency’s busiest period for mail and package deliveries.

DeJoy’s Dallas tour included a visit to the North Texas Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Coppell and two local Post Offices.

Not holiday related, but Amazon is looking to hire 17,000 in Texas with over 11,000 in DFW alone.

This report includes information from FWBP Staff