Fast food retailer Shake Shack is the latest company to announce $10 million in incentives to hire new workers and retain current employees.
The company announced Wednesday that it would be putting $10 million into its labor force during the next 12 months.
“We are committed to doing the right thing for our teams, guests and communities during the good times and especially the tough times, and the tough times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us the resilience of our people,” the company said in a press release Wednesday. “Our restaurant teams have worked tirelessly to provide great food and an elevated guest experience to all who pass through our doors or order through our ‘Shack app.’ That’s why today we’re proud to announce that we are investing more than $10 million in our restaurant teams over the next 12 months.”
In what the company says is its “biggest team member commitments” in its history, the company is putting $9 million into increasing wages for its workers and another $1 million in hiring bonuses for new members hired between June 10 to Aug. 31, according to the company.
The move comes as companies, especially in the food service and retail industries find it hard to fill staff vacancies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April, the New York-based chain said it was expanding internationally, including new locations in South China and Macao, according to a CNBC story.
Other food retailers, like McDonald’s, are also incentivizing new hires with expanded childcare assistance, paid time off and tuition assistance to fill the ranks as the nation recovers from the virus shutdowns of 2020.
The labor market is slowly returning to work with the unemployment rate for June remaining somewhat stable at 5.9% compared to about 15% in March 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Non-farm payrolls increased by 850,000 in June fueled by the hospitality, education, retail trade, and professional and business services, according to the bureau.
One of the big issues remains the $300 weekly unemployment bump workers have been receiving as part of the “American Rescue Plan” passed earlier this year that enhances state benefits.
The increased benefits have made many unemployed workers less eager to take lower paying jobs, a study by the online Indeed job website found.
Almost half of the unemployed workers surveyed by Indeed (about 70%) said they were either “passively” searching for a job, or not open to searching at all.
Even among those that were actively searching for work, only about 10% said the search was “urgent,” while a slightly higher percentage (about 15%) said they were actively looking, but not “urgently.”
The Indeed online survey was conducted May 26-June 3 with 5,000 US adults 18-64, it did not publish a margin of error.
Another May study by the UC Berkley Food and Labor Research Center found 53% of all restaurant workers considering leaving the job amid the pandemic with 76% of those citing the low wages and tips as a major factor.
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