The John Lewis Partnership is looking to fill thousands of seasonal jobs to meet increased demand around Christmas.
It intends to hire over 7,000 temporary workers for its John Lewis and Waitrose stores and distribution centres in the United Kingdom.
According to the employee-owned company, this represents an increase of 2,000 temporary positions over the previous year.
New employees will be given free food and drinks to “help ensure we can attract the help we need,” according to the announcement.
The partnership is looking for employees for its supermarkets, department stores, and warehouses, as well as delivery drivers for its online grocery division.
Along with its online operation, it operates 34 John Lewis department stores and 331 Waitrose supermarkets.
In addition, the partnership is looking to fill 550 permanent, full-time driver and warehouse positions.
“We know that as the first Christmas after lockdown, customers will want to make it really special, and we’re throwing everything we can into helping them celebrate – our festive team will play a crucial role,” said Nikki Humphrey, people director at the John Lewis Partnership.
“We are excited to welcome new members to our team across the country,” she added.
The jobs will be posted online beginning Thursday, with 4,700 temporary positions available in Waitrose stores and 2,300 in John Lewis.
Race to meet demand
The move comes after the number of job vacancies in the UK surged past one million for the first time.
According to new official figures released on Wednesday, the number of jobs in the three months to August rose above one million for the first time since records began in 2001.
In terms of vacancies, the most popular industries were social work, hospitality, science, retail, and manufacturing.
However, business lobbying groups warned that the need for more workers had reached a tipping point.
According to Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, businesses are facing a “acute hiring crisis.”
“With Brexit and Covid-19 driving a more profound decline in labour supply,” he said, “the end of furlough is unlikely to be a silver bullet to the ongoing shortages.”
“These recruitment challenges are likely to stymie the recovery by limiting firms’ ability to fill orders and meet customer demand.”
Supermarket executives have stated that it is critical to address the labour shortage issues before the busy holiday season.
The John Lewis Partnership will also begin promoting Christmas in stores in October and will use a new 300,000-square-foot distribution centre in Leicestershire to meet demand ahead of Black Friday sales.
Last year’s Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom were hampered by restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With fewer restrictions expected this year, retailers are anticipating a busy holiday season.