Vacation raffles, cash bonuses, kayaks and diamond earrings are just some of the perks U.S. retailers are offering to attract holiday workers amid one of the tightest labor markets in decades.
Retailers, e-commerce and logistics companies are looking to hire 704,000 holiday workers this year — the most since 2014 when unemployment stood at around 6 percent, according to job placement and coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Couple that with a jobless rate sitting at a nearly five-decade low at 3.7 percent, and retailers have to get creative to be able to fill those jobs in time for the holiday rush. Earlier this month, Amazon said it would begin to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour starting Nov. 1, ratcheting up pressure on other companies to raise wages or offer other incentives.
While compensation is the top consideration for most job applicants, it's not the only factor. J.C. Penney is sweetening the pot with a chance to win vacations and gift "bundles" that include sleeping bags, Bose speakers and designer watches.
"Retailers are asking, what other perks can I offer?" Melissa Hassett, vice president client delivery for job placement firm ManpowerGroup, told CNBC. "Flexible hours, ability to pick shifts, gym memberships, whatever perks are important for that store and that region are considered."