The weather may still be hot and humid, but retailers are already shifting their holiday hiring plans for seasonal jobs into high gear. With the trend growing towards earlier and earlier holiday shopping for consumers, and Christmas sales expected to grow 3.4% this year according to the National Retail Federation, it is definitely not too early for jobseekers to start putting in applications for seasonal retail jobs. Here are some of the companies that have announced high-volume hiring numbers so far:
- Following last year’s jump in holiday hiring, UPS is set to fill about 95,000 seasonal positions again this year. In 2014, UPS hired only 55,000 workers for seasonal jobs, which shows the increasing demand for package handlers and drivers as we see a growing shift towards online shopping for consumers.
- Target plans to hire over 70,000 customer service workers this holiday season, which is about the same as the amount of seasonal retail jobs they filled in 2015. They are also hiring an additional 7,500 workers for jobs in their distribution facilities to help package and ship online orders.
- Macy’s is also planning to fill the same 85,000 seasonal positions this holiday season as they did last year, and JC Penney’s number of seasonal openings have grown, from 38,000 in 2015 to 40,000 this year. For both companies, many of these seasonal jobs are in-store retail positions. But they are also seeing more and more need for other jobs such as warehouse and call center to satisfy online shopping demands.
- Amazon.com, which topped holiday hiring numbers last year by filling 100,000 openings for seasonal jobs, has yet to announce their holiday hiring projections for this year. But they have made known their plans to hire seasonal customer service associates to work remotely in 20 of the 50 states in the U.S. They call this hiring initiative their “Reserves Program”, and the need for remote workers isn’t surprising considering the online retail giant’s growing consumer popularity.
Better Pay and Benefits for Seasonal Retail Jobs
There is even more good news for those in need of seasonal work. Now that unemployment has dropped to 4.9%, the number of seasonal job openings retailers are hiring for seems to be higher than the amount of workers there are to fill them. According to NBC News, this means higher wages, better benefits, and other awesome perks for workers, such as free lunches, transportation and more flexible hours. The average wage this year for seasonal workers has climbed to $14 an hour, an increase of over $4 from last year. Another reason retailers are finding it more difficult to fill seasonal jobs is that due to the shift towards online shopping, more and more of these jobs are warehouse positions, which tend to be harder work in many cases and less desired by some jobseekers.
Warehouse and Transportation Jobs Growing
In their 2016 seasonal hiring outlook, Chicago-based outplacement and career transitioning firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas states that the job sector with the biggest increase in hiring numbers is transportation and warehousing, having added 200,500 workers last year in November and December. But that doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar retail stores still don’t have a significant place amidst the holiday shopping craze. “We continue to move from brick-and-mortar toward click-and-order. But even in the Internet era of holiday shopping that means that brick-and-mortar fulfillment facilities need seasonal workers,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm.
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Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.