The coronavirus is changing work as we know it, sending folks home to work remotely, but also shuttering some businesses deemed “non-essential.” Many even temporarily closed businesses are laying off workers they can no longer afford to pay. If you’re looking for work during this time, you may want to check some of these businesses that are actively hiring to help keep supply lines, essential services and even health care working.
Taking Care of Workers
While the situation is changing rapidly, more major metropolitan areas and states are starting “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” orders that are forcing hard decisions for employers that cannot send employees to work from home. Unemployment applications have risen so fast and so high that states are even struggling to get checks out to everyone in a timely manner.
In California, “during a press conference Monday night, [Governor] Newsom reported that the daily average of claims over the last seven days is 106,000,” writes Eric Ting at the SF Gate. “The normal average per day is just 2,500, meaning the number of jobless claims has increased by over 4,000%.”
However, some employers are hiring and even adding incentives for workers who are willing and able to work right now:
Amazon Warehouses and Distribution Centers
Everyone’s panic shopping, even from home. Amazon is actively hiring at its distribution centers to try and get everyone’s shelter-in-place supplies in the mail.
The good news for existing and new Amazon workers is the company is also doling out raises. CEO Jeff Bezos posted a long letter on his Instagram account on Saturday, noting he hopes those who have lost their jobs recently will come to work at Amazon.
“We’re hiring for 100,000 new roles and raising wages for our hourly workers who are fulfilling orders and delivering to customers during this time of stress and turmoil,” Bezos wrote.
Amazon’s website notes that they are increasing pay for hourly workers around the world, though the measures are only guaranteed for now through April. “This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the U.S., Europe, and Canada,” Amazon noted.
PayScale data shows the average hourly wage for an Amazon warehouse worker (from associate to picker) ranges from $11-$17/hour.
Grocery stores are hiring. All over the country, stores are trying to not only keep stores open and operating, including increasingly popular curbside services, but also get them cleaned. Outside of hospitals, some of the front line workers we’re seeing the most are those at grocery stores. With locations trying to ensure older shoppers get access to a safe space to buy food and supplies, they’re also stepping up overnight stocking and cleaning in stores.
Tuesday, Ronald Fong, president and CEO, California Grocers Association, noted on KQED’s show “Forum” that many stores were stepping up use of social distancing markers to help alleviate crowding in stores, as well as heavy duty cleaning during and after shifts.
Last week, head of the Minnesota Growers Association tweeted out support for the state’s governor for classifying grocery store workers as essential during the state’s social distancing measures, allowing the workers to get childcare assistance.
.@GovTimWalz has classified “food distribution workers,” which is store clerks, stockers, etc, as Tier 2 emergency works. This allows frontline workers childcare as they serve and feed Minnesotans. Thank you @GovTimWalz for supporting our industry during this challenging time!
— MN Grocers Assoc. (@MNGrocers) March 18, 2020
Many stores are in fact prioritizing hiring at their locations, with teams working to help hourly workers apply and get hired quickly. At Mariano’s in Chicago, Amanda Puck, Mariano’s director of strategic brand development says that while they’ve always had a need for hiring, right now it’s more important than ever to make that process move quickly.
PayScale data shows the hourly wage for a cashier at Mariano’s ranges from $9-$14/hour.
You know who are also heroes? Those working the checkout counters and stocking shelves at supermarkets and pharmacies. Their work, at some risk to their own health, is vital to the health and safety of our country.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) March 14, 2020
Costco and other bulk shopping companies like Sam’s Club and BJ’s have seen epic lines and lots of videos posted around toilet paper hoarding and struggles over bulk shopping expeditions during the coronavirus outbreak. Many stores worked with new strategies to limit the chaos, including product rationing, special shopping hours for those most vulnerable and clear processes to speed up getting in and getting out with appropriate distancing.
Costco has now also announced it will increase its hourly workers’ pay by $2/hour as a result of all the increased services they’re providing during the pandemic. They’re also still hiring at warehouse locations and corporate sites.
PayScale data shows hourly cashier and stocker pay currently ranges from $11-$21/hour.
Pharmacies/Essential Retail Stores
Pharmacies from your neighborhood mom and pop store to international corporations like CVS and Walgreens are all keeping the lights on as best they can. While you probably can’t find hand sanitizer on the shelf, they are still providing food and essentials along with prescriptions (and the occasional candy bar and coloring book to keep us all sane).
CVS has announced bonuses to its workers as well as a hiring plan to bring on 50,000 workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In a press release, they note “roles include store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and member/customer service professionals.” They are also supporting their workforce with services during the outbreak, including paid time off, sick leave, telework support, and more.
Walgreens is adding 9,500 jobs and providing bonuses as well during the outbreak. Bonuses, the company noted, are coming at the end of April, and will be “$300 for full-time and $150 for part-time hourly employees in stores and distribution centers,” according to a recent USA Today article by Josh Rivera.
In addition to pharmacies, retailers like Target have been stepping up to make sure they can provide as much customer service as possible, as well as limiting hours to clean and restock as well as special shopping hours early in the morning. Target also announced they are providing an additional $2/hour for their hourly workers, at least as a temporary measure. It will also support workers who need to be out due to illness with paid sick days. They are still hiring career roles at stores and distribution centers that support their online sales, as well as retail positions at stores.
Call Centers/Customer Service
Those who offer customer service remotely have also seen hiring bumps, especially for businesses like Chewy.com or Hello Fresh, which offer goods shipped to your home.
Chewy offers pet supplies and food and has been keeping its operations around the country open to fill orders so that pet owners can get food, supplies and medicine they need for their dogs, cats, fish and more. They’ve listed warehouse and fulfillment center jobs on their website, as well as marketing and technical roles they are still hiring for.
An article in the Dallas News recently quoted Chewy’s shift to remote work, noting “One [call] center, online pet store Chewy, said that it has now provided workers with equipment and adopted work from home policies ‘for a considerable portion of our customer service workforce.'”
Hello Fresh is one of several delivered meal prep companies, which are affording those who can stand to cook a real meal (not just eat chips dipped in Nutella straight from the jar, like most of us) the opportunity to get a meal and instructions delivered. But even their food preparation, couriers and customer service call centers are still hiring shift workers (nearly 70 are listed online) as well as white-collar roles (over 100 in the U.S. alone), all with dedicated attention paid to safety.
Even with social distancing, your local restaurants and coffee shops may be hiring during the coronavirus. Some restaurants lost staff when hourly workers needed to be at home to take care of children sent home from closed schools. But folks are still ordering take out and delivery, possibly more so since we can’t go and eat at a sit-down restaurant.
in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, David Falato, the owner of Jet’s Pizza, notes that he’s lost about 20% of his staff due to the changes in the city. However, he says he still needs immediately to keep the business going, even under the new conditions.
“At each store I lost about 20% of the staff in the past week,” Falato says. “I need cashiers, line cooks and drivers to continue to operate.”
“On Thursday, Falato, who is recruiting about 20 workers, said he hired five drivers as pizza orders continued to roll in,” Jimenez writes in the Tribune.
With locations around the country, Jet’s is just one place hiring workers in a variety of roles to make sure that those who need a hot meal can get it. An article by WDJT-Milwaukee noted, “Jet’s Pizza said on average, delivery drivers can make between $13 – $16 per hour, based on tips and mileage.”
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Which companies would you add to this list? We want to hear from you! Share your story in the comments or join the discussion on Twitter.