Seasonal Workers Could See Major Boon from 2017 Holiday Hiring

’Tis the season for holiday hiring.

Early predictions indicate a holly, jolly Christmas for retailers, with total sales expected to grow as much as 4.5 percent versus last year’s 3.6 percent. To help, according to the National Retail Federation, 500,000 to 550,000 season workers will need to be hired.

And while some companies are making it attractive to apply, there are still some things that applicants need to be aware of:

• The economy may not be your friend. Rather than hire a slew of temps, some employers such as Walmart are offering extra hours to existing workers.

“Part of the reason is that there aren’t as many people looking for work this year,” reports. “Unemployment fell to a 16-year low of 4.2 percent in September, considered to be pretty much full employment by most economists.”

• Except when it is your friend. Because fewer people are out of work, some of the incentives that are luring qualified applicants to their doors, are impressive.

One of the most interesting offers comes from UPS, currently in the midst of a major push to fill approximately 95,000 full- and part-time jobs – primarily as package handlers, drivers, and driver helpers. The company already has a rep for providing such seasonal temps what it deems “a road to permanent employment.” And that’s on top of inducements such as flexible hours across multiple shifts, and as much as $25,000 in tuition assistance for permanent part-time college students through its <Earn and Learn> program. (

“If you are a student, a working mom, or just looking to make extra money for the holidays, we have a job for you,” says CEO David Abney.

• The 800-pound gorilla. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, who isn’t buying online these days?And with Internet sales predicted to rise 18 to 21 percent over last year, not only does someone have to deliver those packages, but stores such as Macy’s will be needing bodies for their fulfillment centers and online customer service.

So what are the odds of those 500,000-plus temp gigs becoming more lasting?

UPS, for instance, says that 35 percent of those hired as seasonal package handlers for the holidays have landed permanent positions, and that even its permanent part-time employees qualify for healthcare and retirement bennies.

Case in point: Jackie Nicholas, who started out years ago as a temp and who’s now a full-time recruiter in Kentucky.

“As a mother, the great pay and benefits have been critical for my family and so has the flexibility,” says Nicholas, recalling how she used to work the night shift when her two kids were young so that she could be with them for things such as school field trips. P.S.: Her husband and two sons now also work for UPS.

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