Skip to main content

Retail Hiring Trends Reveal Omnichannel Winners and Losers

Data analytics firm Eagle Alpha said the number of online omnichannel job listings over the past few years was a good indicator of which retailers would see future traction in online sales.

In a report Wednesday examining the department store sector, the data firm said retailers that allocated 20 percent to 40 percent of total hires to omnichannel were ultimately able to scale their online presence, which later seemed to match online sales growth once the infrastructure was in place.

Examples include the discounters Target and Walmart, both of which allocated a high proportion of total hiring to omnichannel workers prior to 2017. That in turn helped to drive strong industry hiring trends among general merchandisers. With the infrastructure in place, hiring levels have since declined significantly, the report said. Eagle Alpha also noted that both mass merchants have also seen “traction in online sales in recent years and this is a proof point of the need to hire robustly, over several years, for a scalable digital presence.”

Kohl’s has been hiring omnichannel employees “quite aggressively since 2017,” the report noted, with job listings ranging from 20 percent to 40 percent of total openings from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2019. “This level of hiring emulates Walmart and Target and has benefited Kohl’s omnichannel sales. At the same time, many of Kohl’s competitors have struggled,” the report said.

At Macy’s, hiring for omnichannel positions has ranged from 10 percent to 20 percent in recent years. While the retailer has “struggled fundamentally in recent years,” it also is “encouraging to see the company allocating resources to establish a digital presence,” Eagle Alpha said.

According to the data firm, the laggards in omnichannel hiring include J.C. Penney and Nordstrom.

At J.C. Penney, hiring for omnichannel positions have been “sporadic,” the data firm said. Nordstrom has been hiring for omnichannel jobs, but only in a 5 percent to 10 percent range, Eagle Alpha said.

Given the hiring ranges among all the retailers it cited in its report, and well as recent data on online sales trends, Eagle Alpha concluded that the 20 percent to 40 percent range seemed to be the necessary requirement to successfully scale an omnichannel presence.