To find workers in the seasonal “war for talent,” offices and those not directly in the retail space are having to start hiring earlier than past years. Some are having to use staffing companies for the first time to find workers, said Katie Essman, regional president of the staffing firm Robert Half.
But even Robert Half feels the pressure to find seasonal workers to place in jobs.
“As much as I might hate to say this as a Colorado native, we can’t wait for people to move here,” Essman said in jest. “Most of the talent we work with are relocating to Denver and we’re finding them prior to their move here.”
Even though the first snowflakes of the year haven’t hit the ground yet, there are already hundreds of companies in Denver planning for the $655.8 billion holiday shopping season.
Retailers in Denver, like the boutique store Talulah Jones in the City Park West neighborhood, make a huge chunk of their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season that spans from October through December. Other businesses not working directly with shoppers have to think about holiday vacations and end-of-year deadlines.
Companies will hire thousands of extra little helpers this holiday season — that is if they can find them in Colorado’s already very competitive employment pool.
The seasonal hiring process typically begins in September and October. Many positions need to be filled by November, said Laura Argys, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver. “Colorado’s tight labor market could make it difficult for some to fill positions.”
Companies bulking up their staff for the holidays include Amazon, Target and UPS which a spokesperson said is adding 1,600 positions in Denver and Englewood.
Denver retailers, on average, add 6,450 seasonal workers annually from October to December. Nationwide, retailers are expected to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Source: U.S Department of Labor not seasonally adjusted data for the retail industry. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)
“It’s critical for us to stay in business to have a successful holiday season,” said Robin Lohre, owner of Talulah Jones.
Part of being successful means having to add a couple of additional employees to restock toys, jewelry and other items at the boutique store. The hours for the current six workers also have to be boosted so the store can open earlier and close later.
“There’s never a dull moment here from restocking to helping new customers to getting new shipments out, there’s always something to do,” Lohre said. “A person who works here has to have the confidence to wear all those hats and that training and confidence takes time.”
Lohre added her first holiday worker earlier about four years ago. She’ll likely add another in coming days, she said.