Gap, Target and Macy’s are already hiring
Tis the season to start shopping for a holiday job.
Amazon announced this week it would hire 120,000 workers in the United States this holiday season, the same number as last year, joining a slew of other U.S. retailers that are being cautious about their seasonal hiring plans.
The e-commerce giant said Thursday holiday jobs will be spread out over more than 75 fulfillment centers nationwide to help pick, pack and ship orders. Amazon also expects to convert these seasonal positions into full-time roles.
Shoppers are expected to shell out between $678.75 billion and $682 billion on holiday gifts this year, up 3.6% to 4% over last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Much of the spending will come from online shopping, which is expected to accelerate its pace of growth to 11 to 15% to about $140 billion.
Businesses like Target, Gap and Macy’s are already getting ready to hire an influx of eager holiday employees, and if you want to snag a temporary gig, career experts say now through October is prime time to apply.
“Companies will start hiring for those seasonal jobs so they can hire by Thanksgiving if not sooner,” career expert Vicki Salemi tells Moneyish.
Seasonal hiring for 2017 is already seeing a 3.8% increase from 2016, with a whopping 75,255 job ads for seasonal positions in September alone, according Monster.com data. And more are expected for next month. The career site has seen seasonal hiring typically increase in October, with 81,392 job listings for seasonal workers posted last year. Salemi suggests setting up job alerts with keywords like “seasonal retail” so you can get job postings sent straight to your inbox.
Target announced recently that it will hire about 100,000 seasonal workers this year, up more than 40% from last year’s 70,000. The retailer also said it will add 4,500 jobs at its distribution centers, in anticipation of online orders. The seasonal hiring begins Oct. 13, and benefits include a 10% discount on Target purchases and a 20% discount for certain produce and clothing. Target’s rival, Walmart announced it won’t be hiring extra employees for help around the holidays, and will instead give existing workers more hours.
According to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc, the bulk of holiday hiring announcements occur in September. In addition to Target, Michaels has announced 15,000 holiday workers, and 1-800-Flowers will staff another 8,000 workers for the holidays.
If you’re looking to get killer discounts, consider applying to retail clothing stores, many of which are already hiring. Gap will host a “Holiday Hiring Day” on September 23 at all of its companies including Banana Republic and Old Navy. Employees who make the cut will get 30% off merchandise at all affiliated Gap Stores and 25% off at Athleta. Similarly, Macy’s is looking for no-experience required, seasonal customer service and merchandising employees. All of the job posts require “excellent customer service” experience and flexibility with schedules.
“The competition among major big-box retailers will incentivize consumers to spend more this holiday season. These stores will need to add staff in order to meet demand,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
And as more holiday shopping gets done online, job seekers will find more positions beyond customer service or the sales floor. Last year, Nordstrom hired around 11,400 temporary employees for the holiday shopping season and about 9,500 of those were hired in sales at stock positions while 1,900 were hired to support Nordstrom’s stores and e-commerce biz through its fulfillment and distribution centers, according to a Monster.com report.
You may also be able to turn a holiday gig into a full-time gig. Amazon hired around 120,000 seasonal jobs last year in customer fulfillment and customer service, and more than 14,000 seasonal positions moved into full-time, according to the same report.
“As holiday shopping habits turn virtual, retailers are responding by hiring more warehouse and transport workers. While retail hiring has fallen over the last couple years, major announcements indicate workers will still be needed for customer-facing positions, as retailers attempt to give consumers an experience they cannot receive online,” said Challenger.
Here are some of the perks of snagging a seasonal gig:
Retailers typically give employees between 10 to 30% off discounts during the holiday season. And if you’re looking for a side gig, Salemi suggest working for a company you will likely buy your holiday gifts from.
“Say you want to work in retail and you have kids – you’re going to get discounts for products that will lead to significant savings for your wallet,” says Salemi.
New job opportunities
If you’re looking for a career change, Salemi says having a seasonal job could be a good way to get your foot in the door at another company no matter what the position may be.
“Prove that you are indispensible to the team no matter how tired you are. Sit down with your boss and say ‘I’ve been here a month, I love it and if anything becomes available full time, I’d like to stay on,’” she suggests.
“It’ll never hurt you to expand your network, reach out to the parent company and see what fulltime jobs they have available,” she adds.
Build a new skill set
If you’re sitting at a desk job all day, it could be refreshing to get a temporary gig where you’re on your feet for a few hours at a time conversing with customers or doing simple tasks like folding clothes, says Salemi.
You may also learn new skills — or build a network — that could help you further your career, says Salemi. A retail job might build customer service skills, for example.
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