Australia's largest retailer is going on an aggressive recruitment drive in a bid to meet "unprecedented demand" for food and drinks.
Woolworths Group (ASX: WOW) has today announced plans to hire up to 20,000 new roles across its supermarkets, e-commerce, supply chain and drinks businesses in Australia over the next month.
The move follows a decision from Woolworths subsidiary ALH Group to stand down 8,000 employees across its pubs and pokie businesses.
The company expects the recruitment drive will also help scale up online operations to support the changing shopping needs of the community during the health crisis.
"These are uncertain times for many industries and we have an important role to play keeping Australians employed through this crisis," says Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci.
"Our top priority as we continue delivering an essential service to the community is upholding customer and team safety through clear social distancing rules and elevated hygiene standards.
Banducci adds there will also be more hours for existing team members.
"Our immediate hiring focus is the redeployment of our ALH team members impacted by this week's mandatory hotel closures," he says.
"We have already placed around 3,000 of those impacted into new roles across BWS, Dan Murphy's and Woolworths Supermarkets and will continue to take expressions of interest.
"These new roles will not only help us better serve the increase in demand we're seeing in stores right now, but also allow us to scale up home delivery operations in the months ahead."
The company is preparing to offer up to 5,000 short-term roles to Qantas Group employees taking leave without pay, including more than 1,500 in its distribution centres.
Woolworths Group is standing up similar streamlined application processes with the likes of Village Entertainment, Michael Hill Jewellers, Cotton On, Accor and Super Retail Group. It expects to make thousands of short-term roles available to employees from these businesses.
"We're working with a number of customer-focused businesses impacted by recent government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19," says Banducci.
"We're hopeful these businesses will bounce back strongly once this crisis passes, and we want to do our bit to help them - and their people - get through the short-term challenge.
"We're confident the strong service skills and work ethic of candidates from these businesses will be highly transferable to Woolworths."
Updated at 12:08pm AEDT on 26 March 2020.
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