Lowe's said last week that it plans to hire more than 65,000 associates this year to improve customer service and product availability. Roles are focused on enhancing customer service and include seasonal associate, merchandising support, store leadership and technology careers. According to a press release from the company, Lowe's hiring investments include:
- More than 50,000 seasonal positions in preparation for customers’ spring indoor and outdoor projects.
- Nearly 10,000 permanent associates as part of a merchandising service team (MST) focused on inventory management. Lowe's said the implementation of the MST will improve in-stock availability and allow associates to spend more time serving customers by reducing time spent on tasks.
- Approximately 6,000 full-time assistant store manager and department supervisor roles to improve customer service and leadership.
- More than 2,000 technology roles, including software engineers, data scientists and other digital positions, to build and enhance core technology capabilities and deliver on its omnichannel strategy. The first 500 of these technology positions will be posted and filled throughout 2019.
As part of this strategic effort, Lowe's has reduced some in-store support functions to simplify operations, including discontinuing its project specialist interiors program. The home improvement retailer, however, will continue to provide interior installations, such as cabinets, countertops and flooring, as well as its project specialist exteriors program to support customers in exterior projects such as roofing, siding, fencing and windows.
Total Retail's Take: What's most interesting about this announcement by Lowe's is that it happened in the first week of 2019, a time when the U.S. is still seeing record-low unemployment. In fact, many retail businesses are being forced to increase wages or offer other incentives just to lure talent to fill open jobs. The move is one of several that Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison, who joined the company from J.C. Penney last year, has made to revitalize the business and better compete with the top player in the category, Home Depot. For example, Ellison has also shuttered unprofitable stores and exited Lowe's business in Mexico.