Hiring at Whole Foods declines as parent Amazon rolls out cashier-free tech

2 months ago by James Mattone in Facts, Trends

Editorial update: Whole Foods has reached out and responded to this article, saying the following:

  • Hiring at Whole Foods has not slowed. We have thousands of open positions at any time, and we are continuing to actively hire.
  • You reference a seasonal hiring freeze. Whole Foods Market does not have a seasonal hiring freeze.  In fact, we hired more people recently, including 4,000 people at our most recent hiring day. As commonplace with most retailers, we tend to hire more in the lead up to the holidays.
  • The number of “individual listings” is not the same thing as an actual job opening. Our site lists roles by job title.  There could be multiple open positions within that job title.  
  • Given the point above, it’s not accurate to say Whole Foods is currently hiring for 124 cashiers.

Here's our response: If, say, cashier positions "could be multiple open positions within that job title", that also means that they had more individual listings listed earlier this year, and that's what we're reporting on. The trend of fewer job listings remains.

That said, the article has been updated to reflect that Whole Foods held its own hiring event, not its parent company, Amazon.

Right now, Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) is testing cashier-less at larger Amazon Go stores after implementing the technology in smaller stores located in Seattle, Chicago, and five other locales. Amazon is also the owner of Whole Foods, buying out the upscale grocery chain in June 2017.

According to data trends indexed from Whole Foods' official job listings page, hiring at the grocer slowed dramatically from November to December. On November 8, Whole Foods had 2,164 individual listings. By December 2, there were only 1,516, a decrease of 29.9%.

A slight rebound after December 2 brought the number of listings up to 1,679, but that's still far below the 2,000+ job opening margin it had during the fall.

Furthermore, a recruitment analysis of job openings no longer listed after 25 days — based on a wholesale retail industry average 24 days it takes to hire someone — shows that positions are disappearing off the platform slower over the past two months, indicating that positions are taking longer to fill (or simply not being filled at all).

Cashier positions reflect an overall hiring decline; November 8 had 186 cashier jobs listed on Whole Foods' careers website, but by November 27, that number was halved.

As of today, Whole Foods listed 124 cashier positions at its stores.

While this dip comes alongside news of Amazon testing cashierless technology, trendlines show a more hopeful sign for those concerned with the robot retail apocalypse. This post-Thanksgiving dip in hiring for Whole Foods happened last year, as seen in both graphs when extended.

Then again, that was also at a time where Whole Foods was holding a massive National Hiring Day to boost Whole Foods staff numbers. Needless to say, that employment drive has an effect on an employer's job opening statistics.

As of now, there might not be any correlation between Amazon's recent development and Whole Foods hiring, for it could just be a seasonal freeze. But it is interesting to see, and worth keeping in mind as the mega-corporation looks towards the cashier-free future.

James Mattone

James is a recent Boston University graduate who calls the world of esports and video games his home. As a young journalist, he has already covered two E3 expos a...

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