As mask-free faces slowly become the norm, many businesses are finding it harder and harder to hire enough workers to fully open back up. The labor market is tight and good help is getting hard to find. A whole bunch of really big companies are all looking to hire tens of thousands of workers at exactly the same time — often for the same kind of work.
This is not good news for businesses — particularly those in the food-service/restaurant industry, where a labor shortage is becoming a labor crisis. But if you’re out of work and looking for a job, boy, do you have options.
Companies are holding job fairs in person and virtually, often filling positions on the spot when qualified candidates emerge. Some are raising wages and boosting benefits to compete with their industry rivals. Others are showing real desperation, with some even paying people to sit for interviews.
It’s likely that your local small businesses might have “help wanted” signs in the window, but if not, you’re probably somewhere near a big chain or corporation that would be glad to meet you. Using a variety of sources, GOBankingRates identified 20 companies that have the most open positions to fill.
Last updated: May 18, 2021
20. FedEx: 900
FedEx was one of the companies that hired throughout the pandemic, including the addition of 70,000 seasonal workers to handle holiday demand in the fall and winter of 2020. Now, FedEx is hiring 900 new employees, which makes it the only business on this list that’s adding fewer than 1,000 jobs. But that’s only in Memphis, Tennessee. The hiring spree is part of a larger plan, according to a local NBC affiliate, to hire thousands of new workers nationwide. Virtually all of it, at least in Memphis, is in response to soaring demand from a seemingly boundless e-commerce boom.
19. Shopify: 2,000
E-commerce giant Shopify has announced plans to hire roughly 2,000 technical professionals in 2021 — 2,021 technical professionals, to be exact. Shopify’s “2,021 in 2021” program is part of a push to double the company's engineering team. Shopify is 100% remote so all jobs are work-from-home positions. Those positions include work in areas like infrastructure, mobile, data, front-end and back-end — and it’s a global campaign. Shopify is currently advertising remote-work openings in Ireland specifically and Europe generally, and all over the Americas — you can apply for several jobs no matter where you are.
17. (tie) Home Depot: 3,000
Home Depot’s biggest jobs initiative is in Los Angeles, where the company is hiring 3,156 new employees to meet the demand that comes with its busy summer season. The company is filling warehouse jobs, as well as in-store positions for things like curbside pickup, filling online orders, overnight freight and merchandise unpacking and customer service. Home Depot is working on similar hiring initiatives in the Fort Worth-Dallas area, too.
17. (tie) Apple: 3,000
In April, Apple announced plans to hire 3,000 new employees in the Raleigh region of North Carolina, where the company is spending $1 billion to build a massive and modern new campus. The people who land those jobs will work on technologies like machine learning and software engineering at one of the most advanced Apple installations in the world in North Carolina’s vaunted “Research Triangle” alongside NC State, Duke and UNC. It’s all part of a larger Apple initiative to expand the company’s homeland beyond its ancestral homeland of Cupertino, California.
16. Fidelity Investments: 3,500-4,000
One thousand of 3,500-4,000 new jobs that Fidelity Investments is adding will go to licensed financial planners. Most of those new hires will work remotely. The company is based in Boston, but the new jobs will be spread out across 20 cities as Fidelity continues to expand its impressive network of LFPs. Many of the new jobs will be filled in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, where Fidelity already has 3,000 employees and is currently advertising hundreds of open positions. Fidelity was one of the companies that hired throughout the pandemic, adding 7,000 new positions during 2020, 5,000 of which were customer-facing.
15. Wawa: 5,000
For loyalists of Pennsylvania-based Wawa, their hometown haunt is the greatest convenience store chain in the land. But Wawa’s hometown has expanded down the East Coast through the Mid-Atlantic and all the way to Florida. All that expansion requires an expanding labor supply — Wawa already employs 35,000 people. Of the 5,000 new jobs that Wawa is rolling out into the summer, about 2,000 will be in the company’s unofficial home state of New Jersey, with a heavy concentration of reinforcements needed on the Jersey Shore.
14. Buffalo Wild Wings: 6,000
You know Buffalo Wild Wings as the sports bar chain with 30-plus flat-screen TVs per restaurant — perfect for hanging out with your buds in 2019. When the pandemic hit, Buffalo Wild Wings Go emerged as the franchise’s lifeboat. The Go locations were pandemic-friendly concept stores that made up for lost foot traffic by focusing on to-go wing orders. The Go model worked, and even though restaurants are filling up again, there’s enough demand for Buffalo Wild Wings takeout that Go locations are still driving much of the company’s new hiring. There are nearly 6,000 current openings for team members and nearly 13,000 openings for managers.
13. Oracle: 8,500
In April, the city of Nashville, Tennessee, learned it would be getting a major investment from one of the biggest names in computer technology. After long negotiations, the city’s Economic Impact Plan approved Oracle’s strategy to bring 8,500 jobs to Nashville — not to mention an investment of $1.2 billion — by 2031. The company plans to have 2,500 of those positions filled by 2027. The plan also calls for 10,000 temporary jobs and 11,500 ancillary jobs — and they’re high-paying positions. The average salary is $110,000.
9. (tie) Applebee’s: 10,000
May 17 was a big day for Applebee’s. The national restaurant chain hosted a National Hiring Day event. Cleverly titled Apps for Apps, the event gave a voucher for a free appetizer to anyone age 18 or over who submitted an application. Ten thousand of those people, however, will come out with a free appetizer and a job — or maybe a career. The company is hiring nationwide for all positions, both full and part time, including front-of-house, back-of-house and management.
9. (tie) Sonic: 10,000
Heading into the summer, Sonic is advertising nearly 10,000 jobs with its drive-in crews across the country. There are openings in nearly one location in three. These are among the most highly coveted gigs in the fast-food world because Sonic makes it easy for customers to tip carhops and the always-awesome skating carhops via mobile app. Those, however, are just the drive-in jobs. When you include drive-in management, multi-unit leadership, miscellaneous positions filed under “other” and a handful of support center jobs, Sonic is heading toward the second half of 2021 with more than 16,000 positions to fill.
9. (tie) IHOP: 10,000
Wednesday, May 19, is National Recruiting Day for IHOP, and it will use the day as the start of a mission to hire 10,000 additional workers over the summer. That includes both full- and part-time positions across all 1,600 franchised IHOP locations. IHOP is preparing for what it’s calling a “restaurant renaissance on the horizon,” according to Business Wire. It does not appear to be blind optimism. US News and World Report recently found that demand is outpacing hiring across the restaurant industry.
Discover: 30 Jobs That Will Soon Be Gone for Good
9. (tie) Google: 10,000
Google had been planning to invest $10 billion in the United States economy in 2020, but the pandemic changed those plans — it didn’t, however, cancel them altogether. Google is now making its investment in 2021, this time for $7 billion — and that investment will be enough to support 10,000 new jobs. The money will build offices and data centers, with $1 billion earmarked for Google’s home state of California and the rest spread out across Texas, Nevada, Virginia, South Carolina and Nebraska, as well as Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Atlanta.
5. (tie) Denny’s: 20,000
Denny’s is one of the many restaurants on this list whose pandemic recovery is stumbling as it struggles to hire enough workers to meet the ongoing crush in demand, according to Restaurant Business Online. Denny’s hired 10,000 new workers in the second half of 2020 to try to meet that soaring demand. Now, it needs at least 20,000 more, but good help — any help — is proving hard to find. Denny’s doesn’t have enough staff to man overnight shifts, according to the RBO report, and it can barely find candidates even willing to sit for interviews.
5. (tie) Dollar General: 20,000
Between April 19-23, Dollar General held a series of cross-country job events, both in-person and virtual. It was part of a spring/summer campaign to bring 20,000 new employees into the fold. Positions are open nationwide, not just in Dollar General stores, but also in its private fleets, store-support centers and distribution centers.
5. (tie) Apple: 20,000
Apple is making this list again, but this is because of the jobs it will be adding over the next five years and across the whole country, so it's important to note that this isn't just for 2021 in North Carolina as you read about earlier.
Most recently, at the end of April, Apple committed $430 billion — nearly a half-trillion dollars — over the next five years. That mountain of cash will fund a sprawling investment in 5G technology, AI and next-gen silicon development programs. Apple’s investment will impact all 50 states and create 20,000 new jobs around the country.
5. (tie) Chipotle: 20,000
Like so many other food service/restaurant chains on this list, Chipotle is having a hard time filling open positions. It needs 20,000 new employees to meet the increased demand that it and the rest of the industry are experiencing. But Chipotle isn’t just hoping for the best. It’s competing in the most aggressive way that employers can compete — by raising wages. The burrito chain announced that it will raise the company’s average pay to $15 an hour by the end of June, with wages starting between $11-$18. It has already begun doling out referral bonuses worth between $200-$750 to current employees who bring another worker into the company.
4. 7-Eleven: 30,000
7-Eleven — America’s most famous 24-hour convenience store chain — has been hit so hard by a labor shortage that many of its more than 9,000 locations have had to close overnight. The company hired 50,000 new employees as demand soared early in the pandemic and then another 20,000 in the second half of 2020. Now, 7-Eleven still is still having trouble putting bodies behind cash registers. The company has set aside June 3 as National Hiring Day, which will kick off a summer hiring blitz the company hopes will add another 30,000 store employees to its payroll.
3. McDonald’s: 33,000
McDonald’s, too, is feeling the pinch that’s at the root of the food industry’s post-COVID-19 labor crunch. In the case of Mickey D’s, virtually all locations are owned by individual franchisees who incentivize and hire candidates on their own, separate from the larger corporation. Franchise owners in Texas are putting the call out for 25,000 new employees — 8,000 in Tennessee. Competition is stiff. Franchisees are offering incentives like signing bonuses — some are even paying candidates to sit for interviews.
2. Taco Bell: 49,000
On April 21, Taco Bell staged hiring fairs across the country, both virtual and in-person, with the hopes of filling 5,000 open positions in a single day. Thanks to COVID-19 precautions, some of the interviews took place in a drive-thru format without applicants even having to leave their cars. But with a painfully tight labor market making new employees hard to come by, 5,000 new workers is just a drop in the bucket. Taco Bell is currently advertising more than 49,000 positions on its website.
1. Whataburger: 50,000
Whataburger brought out the big guns when it launched its 2021 hiring initiative on April 21. Pivot Method founder Jenny Blake was part of the action, as were celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez and NBA legend David Robinson. The event was a virtual leadership conference, and if they brought in NBA royalty, it’s likely because Whataburger is launching a full-court press to hire 50,000 employees despite one of the tightest labor markets in years.
More From GOBankingRates