Where have all the full-time employees gone? According to survey taken by Reuters, they won’t be many found in the new-hire department of stores owned by Wal-Mart Inc (NYSE:WMT). The company with the largest retail operation in the U.S. (and the largest employer) is turning toward temp employees to fill job vacancies in most locations, a practice commonly reserved for the holiday season. The hiring trend is leading many to believe it’s a reaction to the realities of the Affordable Care Act.
The Reuters survey involved a check with managers and HR departments of stores in every state in the Union, and revealed 27 out of the 52 were only hiring temps. Among the other 20 that were hiring, it was a combination of part-time, temps, and full-time employees. None were hiring only full-time workers. The practice has brought the number of temps to nearly 10 percent of the workforce, a significant hike from the 1 to 2 percent Walmart stores employed before this year.
CEO Bill Simmons, head of U.S. Walmart stores, described the practice as a way of keeping things practical. “Their hours flex by the needs of the business from time to time,” he told reporters recently. Wal-Mart is facing a great deal of competition from Target (NYSE:TGT) and wholesale discount operations that rival Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club stores. Will fewer full-time employees leave stores understaffed and lead to the loss of more customers?