CEO Says FedEx Can Meet Holiday Demand ‘Assuming We Can Get Employees’

The FedEx chief executive said Sunday that the trucking company will be able to keep up with holiday demand “assuming we can get employees,” as various industries continue to grapple with declining workforces due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked by CBS “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan if Christmas presents would arrive on time this holiday season, FedEx CEO Fred Smith said “I think we’re ready for this,” as long as I have enough. workers.

He said FedEx and other companies have seen a worker shortage in part due to the highly infectious delta variant, and to some extent due to COVID-19 stimulus funds that supported businesses and workers amid the pandemic.

“We are ready, assuming we can get the employees. The lack of employees, particularly from last spring through the summer, partly due to the Delta variant and partly due to the stimulus that hit just before the Delta variant took over much of the country, created many employment problems. “Said Smith.

Smith noted that FedEx is currently processing a large number of requests to prepare for the increased holiday season. The week of May 8, the company processed about 50,000 a day, but in the week that began November 1, it said officials received 90,000 job applications.

He said the company is hiring “many, many thousands of people to operate our more than 60 global centers that allow us to pick up and transport deliveries between two points in the world.”

FedEx expects an increase in deliveries this holiday season, Smith said. The company forecasts that it will deliver 100 million more shipments this season compared to the same period in 2019 because it has been doing more work in the e-commerce sector and has made investments to modernize its fleet of aircraft.

Smith’s interview came days after the Labor Department released a robust jobs report for October, which showed the United States added 531,000 jobs that month and saw the unemployment rate drop 0.2 percentage points.

Some companies, however, continue to experience worker shortages, according to CNBC, exacerbating bottlenecks in the supply chain and raising prices across the country.

When asked by Brennan if he fears that the new vaccine and the Biden administration’s trial mandate will drive some workers to leave the company, Smith said only that the potential “is not a misplaced fear.”

He also commended the administration for delaying the COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline for federal contractors from December 8 to January 4.

He said he supports vaccines and that the company offers bonuses to people who receive the vaccine, but a “large percentage” of the collection, delivery, warehouse and fulfillment staff “just don’t want to get vaccinated.”

Pressed on how he will keep his employees in office, Smith said FedEx “will try anything and anyone,” pointing to incentives, encouragement “or whatever.”

“We believe that we will be able to overcome it,” he added.

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