Selling the Job

Jennifer Polanz

One of the benefits of running the Wage & Benefit Survey year after year is the ability to look at where the changes are happening. This year, it was clear to see wage increases in most, if not all, hourly categories, as well as in some salaried segments.

For example, overall in the U.S., each hourly category saw higher percentages in the “more than $15” wage segment than in last year’s survey. When broken down by size, the larger operations are increasing wages at a greater rate than the under 30,000 sq. ft. retailers.

Another interesting change relates to benefits. While full-time benefits either increased just slightly, remained flat or decreased slightly from last year, all part-time benefits increased over last year, some by a couple of percentage points. They aren’t massive increases, but it does show that retailers are resorting to additional benefits to attract part-time workers.

In fact, pay rate and benefits have worked their way into those help-wanted ads that we asked about in our survey essay question—several retailers replied they include the hourly rate in the ad. Others, like this Pennsylvania retailer, just asked for help with their help wanted: “I would love suggestions from others. Our area has very low unemployment, 3.5%. Pizza shops are starting high school kids at $18 an hour to make pizza. We are a small independent and can’t afford to start new help at that kind of money. We are ‘heavy lifting required.’”

One retailer from Wisconsin said they tout their flexible hours, benefits and paid vacation in their ads. An Ontario retailer said this: “Red-hot help-wanted ad with detailed job description, but focusing on lifestyle, flexible hours, learning opportunities, advancement opportunities.”

Throughout these pages are more suggestions provided by your peers:

“Play in the dirt, experience the outdoors, anything we can do to get quality help in the door.”—Missouri retailer

“It’s always important to outline the job very clearly—no ‘flowery’ language.  As far as particular phrase, no, we do not have any tricks!”—South Dakota garden center

“Pay a little more … get a lot more!”—Vermont retailer

“Flexibility. Staff discounts. Healthy environment.”—British Columbia garden center

“Post to Indeed.com with as much info as possible.” —Washington State retailer

“Best medium seems to be Facebook, although the unacceptable rate is extremely higher; though we do end up getting the needed employees.”—Illinois garden center

“We have used Facebook and Instagram for our help wanted. We no longer pay for newspaper ads.”—Illinois retailer

“Eschew the word ‘sweat’ and any reference to pulling weeds.”—California garden center

“We look for help by asking people we already know and ask members of our work team if they know of anyone they recommend. We have several applicants per year that just ask us because they want to work here.”—Missouri garden center




Thanks so much to Allison Westbrook and Adriana Heikkila for their hard work collecting and tabulating the data!