These companies are hiking wages because they can't find workers

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·4 min read

The race to find talent — and retain existing talent —has entered warp overdrive as the economy kicks into high gear amidst increased COVID-19 vaccinations and a labor shortage. 

Companies from McDonald's to Amazon are finding that in order to get the employees they need to service demand spikes, they will have to pay way more per hour. And in some cases, they will be forced to offer bonuses to attract workers with the skills needed. 

Even then, it's no guarantee a sufficient number of employees are added to a company's payroll.

"We have had some labor challenges in those leisure destinations where we have seen demand spike so quickly," Marriott CEO Tony Capuano said on Yahoo Finance Live. "So in South Florida, Texas, Arizona we are running job fairs and we are providing some one-time hiring incentives to get the hotels staffed."

The stress on the jobs market was on full display in the April employment report. The U.S. economy created 266,000 jobs in April compared to the 1 million estimate. March's non-farm payroll gain was revised sharply lower, showing a rise of 770,000 versus the 916,000 previously reported.

Economists say the headline-grabbing miss versus estimates reflects the labor shortage, which in part could be being fueled by generous unemployment checks.

Here are several companies that have recently announced wage increases in a bid to lure workers.

McDonald's

The Golden Arches said Thursday it will raise hourly wages "by an average of 10%" for more than 36,500 employees at more than 660 company-operated U.S. restaurants. That will take the entry-level range for crew to at least $11 - $17 an hour. Starting wages for shift managers will go to at least $15 to $20 an hour.

The pay increases will be phased in over the next several months.

"In this highly competitive market for talent, successful employee recognition, recruitment, and retention is fundamental to drive growth," said McDonald's U.S. President Joe Erlinger in an internal memo obtained by Yahoo Finance.

Higher wages could be good for McDonald's stock, analysts contend.

Amazon

The digital giant said Thursday it's aiming to hire 75,000 workers across its warehouse and delivery network in the U.S. and Canada. And it's willing to pay up to get those workers. 

Amazon said the jobs will offer an average starting pay of $17 an hour. The figure reflects Amazon's recent wage hikes that lifted pay by up to $3 an hour for more than 500,000 U.S. operational employees. The company will also pay new warehouse and transportation workers a $100 bonus if they show a COVID-19 vaccine card. 

FILE- In this Dec. 20, 2017, file photo, a clerk reaches to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse in New York. Amazon is boosting its minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 per hour starting next month. The company said Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, that the wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE- In this Dec. 20, 2017, file photo, a clerk reaches to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse in New York. Amazon is boosting its minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 per hour starting next month. The company said Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, that the wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The company is offering $1,000 sign-on bonuses in select locations, too.

Finding enough talent throughout the organization is likely to be a key priority of soon-to-be Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

Chipotle

Chipotle said Monday it would lift the average hourly wage for its restaurant workers to $15. The company is also offering employee referral bonuses of $200 for restaurant workers and $750 for general managers. 

It touted the ability to be a manager of several Chipotle restaurants — a position it calls a restaurateur — within four years. The position pays more than $100,000 a year, Chipotle said. The burrito chain is looking to fill 20,000 restaurant positions.

Analysts think Chipotle has a decent shot at passing through price increases to diners to offset wage inflation.

Sheetz

Convenience store chain Sheetz said this month it has implemented a $2 an hour wage increase for all of its 18,000 employees who work at its stores. Sheetz said the wage increases are permanent. 

The company is seeking to hire for 2,000 open positions. 

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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