Richmond-area retailers want to stock up on employees this holiday season

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 2:43 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - ‘Tis the season for holiday hiring, but this year, there aren’t many applications coming in.

“Hiring has been very tricky. I would say we get a few here and there throughout the week,” said Matt Watson, Bass Pro Shops General Manager.

At Bass Pro Shops in Ashland, a two-day hiring blitz is underway. General Manager Matt Watson needs more than a dozen people to get through the shopping season and beyond. So far, they’ve hired a handful.

“I mean, it’s retail, so we’re really busy on the weekend; that’s when people have off but it’s also the tricky part, people don’t want to work on weekends,” said Watson.

The state’s labor department is also recognizing the issue. Virginia Secretary of Labor Megan Healy said in a statement, “Today’s labor market remains tight as Virginians continue to struggle with access to affordable child care, a living wage, and workplaces that are safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. As hiring for the holiday season ramps up, all companies should be thinking creatively about ways to support their new and existing hires in the face of these unprecedented challenges. Such strategies could include offering a safe work environment, flexible schedules, support with childcare or eldercare, higher wages, or opportunities for long-term advancement.”

Meanwhile, other retailers like Target anticipate hiring about 30,000 fewer people than last year. Walmart said it plans to bring in 20,000 workers at its supply chain division ahead of the holiday season.

This brings another issue, Watson says he’s already seeing inventory issues. They’re getting products, but just not fast enough.

“More and more people are hunting, fishing, camping outdoors - which is fantastic - but at the same time, there is a demand in terms of keeping up with it at the warehouses and shipping and manufacturing,” said Watson.

The hiring event at Bass Pro Shops continues Thursday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Watson says they are hoping to keep people past the holidays and into the new year.

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