2017 Seasonal Hiring Heats Up

Employers are gearing up for seasonal hiring ahead of the holidays. And there’s good news for workers who are looking for these temporary jobs.

The labor market is getting more competitive. During the week of October 22, workers filed the fewest first-time jobless claims since 1973. This means that employers are having to compete to fill their open jobs. Because of this, employers across all industries are at long last starting to raise both wages and benefits.

And in a recent poll, 51% of employers surveyed said they plan to raise wages for seasonal workers, too.


Retail Hiring Snapshot

Here are the hiring numbers for some of the major retailers this holiday season:

  • Macy’s is hiring 80,000 temporary workers
  • JC Penny is hiring 40,000 temporary workers
  • Target is not only hiring 100,000 temporary workers, but they also raised their minimum wage for new employees from $10 to $11 per hour.
  • Kohl’s plans to hire about the same number of temporary workers this year as they did in 2016, or 69,000 workers.



Surprisingly, Toys R Us – which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year – is also hiring. The company plans to recruit “tens of thousands of seasonal staff,” although a spokesperson declined to give a specific number.

Meanwhile, Walmart is one of the few big retailers with no plans to hire temporary workers. Instead, the company will extend the hours of its current employees.

Because of the competitive labor market, wages and benefits are up across the board in the retail industry. The biggest increases occurred in both in-store and online retail positions. Store manager pay has risen 4.0%, and cashier pay has risen 3.7%.


Warehouse Hiring Snapshot

The seasonal hiring spree is also hitting warehouse, distribution, and e-commerce companies just as hard as traditional retail:

  • Amazon plans to hire 120,000 temporary workers.
  • UPS is hiring 95,000 temporary workers
  • Fedex is hiring 50,000 temporary workers


There’s also good news for warehouse laborers ahead of the holiday season. The rise of e-commerce has been driving warehouse wages up for several months. Now, ahead of the 2017 shopping season, warehouse associates’ pay is up 4.3%.



If you’re a job hunter looking for permanent work, taking advantage of the seasonal hiring wave is a good way to get your foot in the door. But beware: many traditional retailers are struggling. In 2017 alone, The Limited, Wet Seal, hhgregg, and Toys R Us all filed for bankruptcy.

So when filling out applications, choose your companies carefully. Retailer Target is still thriving. Amazon is also a strong choice for seeking temp-to-perm seasonal work, as the company has been expanding its distribution network for many years.

Meanwhile, Macy’s and JC Penny should be considered with caution. Both companies have been closing stores. Increased competition from e-commerce companies like Amazon has hurt these department stores badly. In addition, fewer shoppers are visiting the malls where these stores are often anchored.

If you’re a hiring manager who’s planning to recruit temporary workers this holiday season, don’t delay. The labor market is getting tighter, and competition for signing on the best workers is heating up.



Sources: HR Dive, CBS News, CBSLocal Los Angeles, Target, Wikimedia Commons






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