Retailers shopping for workers Job fairs aim to lure career employees, not just part-timers

August 20, 1998|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Maryland retailers, faced with shortages of managers and career employees, hope to recruit full-time and part-time workers through the first statewide, retail job fair in September, the Maryland Retailers Association said yesterday.

Retailers hope to persuade young people to consider retail as a career rather than as a part-time job, said Tom Saquella, the association's president.

Retailers need part-time store workers along with those who can move up into managerial jobs, Saquella said.

But amid intense competition, he said, they also increasingly need people with marketing, advertising, computer or other technical skills, especially as distribution systems become more complex.

With about 430,000 employees, retailing accounts for 18 percent of the state's jobs, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Maryland retail employment has grown an average of 1.5 percent over the past five years, a little more slowly than state employment as a whole.

During job fairs in Greenbelt and Woodlawn, retailers such as Sears, Roebuck & Co., the Hecht Co., Macy's, Giant Food Inc., Best Buy Co., Circuit City Stores Inc., Ritz Camera Centers Inc., J. C. Penney Co. Inc., Crate & Barrel and T.J. Maxx will accept applications and interview potential employees.

Saquella said he began organizing the event after hearing about severe hiring shortages during the holiday season last year.

"When I started talking to members, I found we've got a much broader problem: We need employees year-round, whether permanent full-time or part-time," he said.

Hiring entry-level workers often becomes more difficult during times of low unemployment, he said.

"That's not a new problem. But what's a little different now facing the industry is getting people to look at retailing as a

career," he said. "All the larger companies are facing that challenge."

The fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 1 at Martin's Crosswinds and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at Martin's West.

Pub Date: 8/20/98

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