News Column

Retailers Taking On Holiday Help

Oct. 22, 2012

Rusty Garrett

Oct. 21--While holiday shoppers may be a few weeks away from compiling their gift lists, retailers are already hiring employees who will ring up their purchases, wrap their gifts or deliver packages to their front doors.

The National Retail Federation estimates retailers will hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal employees this year, compared to the 607,500 they hired last holiday season and more than the 563,000 they hired in 2010.

A survey conducted earlier this fall by the Hay Group indicated retailers plan to hire more seasonal employees than they did in 2011. About 57 percent expect to match last year's holiday hiring figures.

Those planning to hire extra workers employ a variety of recruiting techniques. Miles Crawford with local employment service Go Ye Inc. said his business sees an influx of job and employee seekers as the holiday season nears.

"In a lot of cases, it is parents who may be looking for a way to earn extra cash for the holidays," he said. "Most of them are not looking to find a full-time gig."

Crawford said retailers tend to pay a bit more for holiday work, with an hourly wage from ranging from $9 to $12 an hour.

He said few companies look to agencies for seasonal help. "A lot of the larger ones have their own employment services," he said. "Some others advertise in the classifieds or on Craigslist."

Central Mall provides its tenants with space on the mall website to advertise openings.

Holiday workers this year have the opportunity to work even more hours, as an early Thanksgiving on Nov. 22 and Black Friday that follows will kick off a longer-than-usual Christmas shopping season.

No. 1 retailer Walmart reported in September it intends to hire more than 50,000 additional employees for its 4,000 American stores and to make additional work available to its regular workforce during the holiday season.

"That means when a customer needs help, a Walmart associate will be there to serve them," said Gisel Ruiz, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart, in a company news release.

Target has announced plans to hire 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal workers to staff its stores and distribution centers across the United States. Hiring for Target's seasonal holiday positions began in July for distribution centers and October for stores. The company expects to hire through December.

Positions to be filled are sales floor workers, cashiers and backroom staff in stores and warehouse workers in distribution centers.

Target hired 92,000 people last year and reported its need for seasonal workers has declined because about 30 percent of those hired during the holidays last year were offered permanent employment.

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is hiring an additional 24,000 seasonal employees, a decline from the 30,000 it employed last year.

Kohl's announced Tuesday that it will be hiring more than 52,700 people, up more than 10 percent from 2011 seasonal employment.

Kohl's Corp., based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., operates 1,146 stores in 49 states.

Those charged with delivering holiday packages are also likely to take on additional help over the holidays, although neither FedEx nor United Parcel Service were prepared to release specific numbers.

Carla Boyd, a spokeswoman for Fed Ex said Friday the company had no holiday hiring figures to release. Similarly, a UPS spokeswoman said no information on seasonal hires would be released before Oct. 31. However, she said UPS last year employed an additional 55,000 workers over the holidays to handle 120 million packages.



Source: (c)2012 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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