The Kroger Co. aims to hire 10,000 associates across its operations in a summer hiring drive that kicks off this week.
Cincinnati-based Kroger said Monday that its first nationwide “hybrid” hiring event — encompassing online and in-store interviews — will launch on Thursday, June 10, with the company looking to fill positions in retail, e-commerce, pharmacy, manufacturing and logistics. The hiring event is open to all, including veterans, high school and college students, retirees and people with physical and intellectual disabilities, the retailer said.
“The Kroger Family of Companies is one of the largest employers in the country, and our longstanding culture of opportunity has created an environment where many people — whether it be an intern, stocker or pharmacy technician — come for a job and stay for a career,” Tim Massa, senior vice president and chief people officer at Kroger, said in a statement. “To continue advancing our inclusive culture, where associates feel valued and can feed their future, we are embracing greater collaboration, technology and innovation to attract, identify and develop talent to help us deliver on our business goals, focusing on uplifting and rewarding associate and customer experiences and being consistently in-stock, fresh and friendly.”
Kroger has continued to bolster its workforce since the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020 heightened labor needs companywide, particularly in stores and e-commerce amid surging consumer demand for food and groceries. In fiscal 2020, Kroger added $10 billion to its top line as sales climbed 8.4% to $132.5 billion, with identical sales up over 14% excluding fuel.
Massa reported in early February that, since March 2020, Kroger had hired more than 100,000 new associates and invested more than $1.5 billion to reward workers and protect associates and customers through a range of COVID-19 safety measures. Most recently, that included one-time payments of $100 to all associates who receive full COVID vaccinations, as well as a $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points to hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center workers under an additional $50 million investment.
As part of the recently completed Restock Kroger strategic plan, Kroger said it has been investing to raise the wages of frontline associates, including an incremental $800 million in increases from 2018 to 2020, $300 million more than the originally planned. The company reported that the investment lifted the average wage rate to more than $15 per hour and, including its comprehensive human resources and retirement benefits, the average hourly rate exceeds $20. Kroger also has invested nearly $1 billion to stabilize associates’ pensions.
In 2021, the company plans to invest an incremental $350 million its workforce, a move expected to lift the average associate wage to $16 per hour.
“In today’s highly competitive labor market, we know talent is selective and attracted to companies that are leading with a clear purpose, growing and improving every day, and committed to offering a diverse, inclusive, and engaging culture where they can thrive and excel,” according to Dawn Gilmore, head of talent acquisition at Kroger, whose workforce numbers nearly a half-million employees.
“Our need for 10,000 more friendly and engaged associates reflects the acceleration of our business and position as one of the top retailers and employers in the U.S.,” Gilmore stated. “We welcome any individual who is looking for a career with opportunity to join us on Thursday, June 10, by registering for the hiring event on The Kroger Family of Companies career site.”
Among its career-focused benefits, Kroger offers up to $21,000 in tuition reimbursement for part-time and full-time associates, including degrees ranging from a GED to a PhD. Since its inception, the program has benefited 6,000 employees, with hourly associates constituting 87% of participants, the company said.
In addition, Kroger said it provides on-demand, role-specific training and resources through FEED desktop and mobile and modern learning platforms such as Axonify, along with leadership, career advancement, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.
“We want to meet our associates where they are and provide them with tools and pathways to grow as individuals and with our organization, because the jobs of the future will grow and evolve just like our business,” Massa added. “Today’s growth-minded associates will deliver tomorrow’s solutions for our customers.”