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Retailers’ seasonal hiring plans for the holidays are mixed

October 13, 2017

Retailers’ seasonal hiring picture for the holidays is mixed. One survey found a majority of retailers expect hiring to rise while another expected hiring to be down. And looking at individual retailers, some plan to hire more seasonal employees this year, while others plan less hiring.

Korn Ferry surveyed 20 major US retailers last month and found 80% plan to hire the same or more seasonal workers than last year. However, the survey found 40% believe there will be fewer applicants in the candidate pool and 40% anticipate paying higher hourly wages.

In a separate report, the National Retail Federation said retail employment already increased recently so retailers see less of a need to hire seasonal workers for the holidays this year. It expects retailers to hire between 500,000 and 550,000 temporary workers this holiday season, down from last year’s 575,000.

Competitors for temporary workers this holiday season include:

  • Amazon: Amazon plans to hire more than 120,000 positions this season across its US network of fulfillment centers, sortation centers and customer service sites — almost doubling its 125,000 existing full-time employees. The company said thousands of holiday positions were transitioned to regular, full-time roles after the holidays last year and it expects to continue that trend this year.
  • Target Corp.: Target plans to hire approximately 100,000 store team members across the country — up from 70,000 last year — and 4,500 at its distribution and fulfillment centers.
  • UPS: UPS expects to hire about 95,000 seasonal employees to support the anticipated increase in package volume that will begin in November and continue through January 2018; this is unchanged from last years’ plans. The full- and part-time seasonal positions — primarily package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers — can be an entry point for traditional employment at UPS. Over the last three years, 35% of the people UPS hired for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired as a traditional employee at the end of the holidays.
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc.: The company announced it will not hire seasonal workers but instead offer the extra hours available to its current associates.
  • Macy’s Inc.: Macy’s plans to hire approximately 80,000 seasonal associates for positions at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers nationwide. This includes about 18,000 in direct-to-consumer fulfillment facilities; approximately 1,000 to interact with customers via telephone, email and online chat at customer service centers; and more than 1,000 to support the 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santalands and other holiday events.
  • FedEx Corp: FedEx plans to hire more than 50,000 seasonal workers. It will also offer extra hours to some current employees.
  • JC Penney Company Inc.: JCPenney plans to hire more than 40,000 associates this holiday season — comparable to last year — to fill a variety of positions in stores, jcpenney.com facilities and customer care centers nationwide. It is seeking associates for a variety of customer service and support positions, including cashier, replenishment specialist, beauty consultant, salon stylist and more.
  • Toys“R”Us Inc.: Toys“R”Us, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, is hiring for part-time holiday positions at stores and distribution centers nationwide including more than 3,800 in New York City, 2,400 in Los Angeles, 1,100 in Chicago and 950 in Boston. Toys“R”Us’ customer service partner, Acticall Sitel Group, is also hiring more than 900 seasonal work-at-home agents at its virtual call centers in 25 states. The company works with DHL Supply Chain in Groveport, Ohio, for online fulfilment throughout the holiday season; it is hiring more than 2,400 seasonal employees to help service online orders for Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com.


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