(Bloomberg)—Target Corp., No. 12 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 500, plans to increase the number of Black staffers by 20% over the next three years, responding to years of under-representation at the retailer whose Minneapolis headquarters lies a short drive from the spot where police killed George Floyd.
The cheap-chic retailer currently has 56,412 Black or African-American employees, who comprise just 15% of its workforce, according to a racial and gender breakdown released by the company Thursday that’s more detailed than its previous disclosures. Target is also putting new programs in place to retain those employees once they’re hired.
The move comes as organizations of all stripes face a racial reckoning in the wake of the police killings of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans. The cases have sparked protests from coast to coast and prompted corporations to not only donate money to battle racial inequities but also to rethink their often lackluster approach toward hiring and retaining Black employees.
“More work is needed to increase representation and advancement opportunities and reduce turnover with Black team members,” Target said in a statement.
To do that, the retailer said it will provide “broader leadership pathways” for staffers to move up the ranks, develop programs to hire and retain employees in areas where Black people are not well represented—like technology, merchandising and marketing—and bulk up the network of mentors and sponsors for Black associates.
While the goal will boost the number of Black workers by more than 11,000, Target’s total workforce is also growing, and the company didn’t set a specific target for Black representation overall.
Target’s plan also doesn’t specifically address the lack of diversity in its officer ranks, where Black people make up just 5% of the group, according to the latest workforce data. In prior years, Target had massaged that fact by disclosing the share of leaders who were racial or ethnic minorities, a much broader group that also includes Latinx and Asians.
The 15% share of staffers who are Black is below rivals like Walmart Inc., whose U.S. workforce is 21% Black or African-American.
CEO Brian Cornell has pledged to donate time, money and resources to help local small businesses rebound from the unrest. On June 5, Target pledged $10 million to social-justice organizations and community rebuilding.
“The next step in this journey is being even more transparent with our progress by sharing a deeper look into the racial and gender diversity of our team, listening to our team’s feedback along the way and using this information to drive a number of new commitments for our team,” Melissa Kremer, Target’s chief human resources officer, said in the statement.
Those commitments will be guided by a new committee of senior leaders at Target, dedicated to engaging the company to battle systemic racism.
Walmart plans to hire 20,000 holiday staff to meet online demand
Walmart Inc. (No. 3) will recruit more than 20,000 workers ahead of the U.S. holidays to prepare for an expected surge in online shopping amid the pandemic, its first large seasonal hiring in five years.
The world’s biggest retailer is readying itself for a holiday ecommerce battle with Amazon.com Inc. by bringing on more seasonal staff to handle online orders at its U.S. distribution centers. The beginning hourly rate is $15.75 and goes up to $23.75, the company said in a press release Wednesday.
The two retail giants have attracted new consumers since the start of the COVID-19 crisis as consumers flocked to online options for products ranging from groceries to exercise gear and pet products. And Walmart recently introduced a subscription-delivery service, called Walmart+, to match the popular Amazon Prime offering.
“Over the past six months, our customers have been shopping differently,” said Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Walmart’s U.S. operations. “We expect that will continue into the most important shopping season of the year—the holidays.”
Walmart, which had already hired more than 500,000 employees since March across its stores and supply chain, may face labor competition as the unemployment rate—while still historically high—drops from its pandemic peak. Amazon said last week it was hiring 100,000 full and part-time employees across the U.S. and Canada, offering starting wages of at least $15 an hour. Other retailers have announced holiday staffing, such as craft-store chain Michaels Cos., with plans to add more than 16,000 employees.
Walmart also said it’s increasing availability of “unexpected’ gifts that have become popular during social distancing, including loungewear, pajamas, grills, bicycles and outdoor-sports gear. It’s ready to sell 3 million pet beds.
In the battle for parent and grandparent shoppers, the retailer said it will have 1,300 new toys such as puzzles and Legos, along with 800 exclusive items.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer expects that many consumers will be starting their holiday shopping early, before the traditional kickstart of the season on Black Friday in November.