Large food retailers struggle with staff shortage

Large food retail networks are struggling again with a staff shortage they had already been experiencing before the pandemic, and the phenomenon is particularly visible for personnel categories like commercial workers, cashiers, pickers or multipurpose workers, Essa Group said in a statement today. ESSA Group, one of Romania's largest players in trade marketing and sales services, currently has long-term partnerships with five hypermarket, supermarket and cash & carry networks, providing services to approximately 2,108 outlets. "The highest demand for personnel this year is for picking activities, we have requests for over 300 people, with a minimum delegation duration of six months for one order. The staff shortage was already visible in Q2. The market has practically returned to pre-crisis behavior, when employers were the interviewees, and not candidates. The small number of applicants and the high number of available jobs renders employers very flexible," said Eugen Saulea, founder of ESSA Group, a business with a turnover of 15 million euros last year. One cause for the staff shortage for the targeted positions - commercial workers, cashiers, pickers - is the lack of candidates for higher paid positions or qualified positions with food retailers, which opened access to the respective positions for personnel with lower training, thus leaving positions in execution structures uncovered. According to ESSA, this is a topical phenomenon, as poorly or insufficiently trained staff accesses the middle management positions, which results in a high turnover for execution jobs. "The second half of this year started with a deficit of over 400 people in the organization chart of a large retailer. Covering such a deficit in a relatively short time is possible only with high salary investments that outperform the competitors' offers. We expect a 20% increase in demand for support, recruitment and selection in the third quarter and an increase of up to 40% in the fourth quarter," says Eugen Saulea. Since the beginning of this year, most orders in the retail area have been for pickers. Online commerce is a niche targeted by all major retailers for a fast development in the short and medium term, the more so as the volume of online orders is set to stay constant this year, with just insignificant monthly variations. Although relaxation now makes it possible to travel to nearby locations for daily supplies, the online ordering system continues to account for a major chunk in a family's shopping cart. Founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Eugen Saulea, ESSA Group is today one of the most well-known players in Romania's trade marketing and sales services market, reporting 15 million euros in turnover in 2020, slightly higher than the previous year. The services in the company's portfolio include: workforce recruitment and placement, BTL and events, POSM management services (communication materials), call center and merchandising. Currently, ESSA offers leasing and outsourcing services to over 30 customers, suppliers and manufacturers, but also to large retail chains such as Carrefour, Kaufland, Auchan, Metro Cash & Carry, Mega Image. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Cernat, editor: Oana Tilica; EN - editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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