It’s a nice problem for the economy to have, perhaps, but it’s not nearly as appealing for the stores that are facing serious shortages of workers. As the holiday season rapidly approaches, Target, Wal-Mart and TJ Maxx have all boosted wages and made noises about not being able to get enough workers employed.

Raising Wages

Working in a retail job at Target or Wal-Mart isn’t necessarily prestigious, but it does bring in a paycheck. Fortunately for workers, those paychecks are going up just a bit. Wal-Mart has adjusted its starting wage to $9 per hour and Target quickly followed. TJ Maxx, another discount fashion retailer jumped in with a starting wage at $10 by 2016.

The rising wages in retail don’t seem to be doing much to drum up interest in workers, however. The number of advertised retail positions over the last year has increased by 26 percent. But the website Indeed has measured that workers’ interest in retail positions has fallen by 9 percent in roughly the same time period.

There are increasingly more jobs – especially seasonal ones – in retail, but there are fewer people interested in them.

Competing in Retail

The employee gap can mean a few things for current employees and customers alike. Current employees in most of these large stores can look forward to pay raises as wages go up. They may be even more likely to score a bump in pay by leaving one store to go and work at a competitor.

The higher wages also mean more content employees at the stores, which will hopefully trickle down to the customer. Happy employees usually make happier customers, after all.

On the other hand, there is a distinct possibility that the shortage of holiday workers can make this holiday season a bit sticky for many shoppers. If stores are looking to hire even more holiday workers than they did last year, that means they expect more shoppers. If they fail to hire those workers, all of those extra shoppers are going to be looking at longer waits at the cash registers and fewer employees on the sales floor to help.

As many pissed consumers have noted before, a shortage of workers is never a good thing in a retail store.


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