Home improvement retailers are hanging out the “Help Wanted” signs.
Home Depot on Wednesday announced its spring hiring plans, with the goal of bringing on more than 80,000 seasonal workers, in line with last year, to meet peak demand.
Rival Lowe’s revealed its hiring plans last month, but on Wednesday said it would host its first national hiring day on Feb. 21. The North Carolina-based home improvement chain is planning to hire over 53,000 temporary workers for the busy spring season, hoping to fill 8,000 more roles this year than it did in 2017.
Against a backdrop of job cuts, store closures and even warehouses going dark, two of the largest retailers in the U.S. are looking to hire more than 130,000 people combined. The task is easier said than done, as the labor market is tightening and motivated candidates are harder to come by these days.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in January (held steady since last October), a roughly 17-year low. Most of the hiring recently has been in the health care, construction and restaurant industries.
Retail CEOs are cognizant of the issue and in turn are sweetening benefits (i.e. adding better paid maternity and/or parental leave) and in some instances raising wages. New U.S. tax legislation, which is expected to put money back into many companies’ pockets, has also prompted a handful of retailers to disburse one-time bonuses, Home Depot and Lowe’s included.
This spring, Home Depot is hoping a new tool that allows job applicants to self-schedule in-person interviews in advance will lure more people. Last year, mobile and text-to-apply capabilities increased the candidate pool for spring positions by 50 percent, the company said Wednesday.
“Just as we’re continuously evolving to meet the changing expectations of our customers, we’re harnessing new technologies to do the same for job seekers,” said Tim Hourigan, the executive vice president of Home Depot’s human resources department.
Lowe’s anticipates a marathon hiring event, running from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 21, will do the trick to fill its vacancies. All of its stores will offer open interviews and give potential employees a chance to meet hiring managers, speak with associates and take a “behind-the-scenes” tour. Conditional job offers could be made on the spot.
Lowe’s is also hosting a Facebook Live event at 2:15 p.m. that day for potential candidates who are unable to attend the hiring day in person.