Hiring is getting a head start for the holidays here in Rhode Island, with numerous Ocean State businesses preparing to open hundreds of seasonal jobs.
As the holiday shopping season creeps over the horizon, many major companies are ramping up their hiring for the busiest shopping time of the year. Businesses load up on temporary employees to meet increased demand, especially retailers who will see their sales spike at the end of the year and need the extra muscle to keep up.
And that demand is only growing. Last year, despite a spate of bad weather, holiday sales increased 3 percent to $626.1 billion, according to the National Retail Foundation, the seventh straight year of growth. A spokesperson for the foundation told Patch 2016 projections will be available in October.
Want to make some extra money this holiday season? Check out the Patch Jobs Board for listings in your area. (You can filter to your area in the link.)
Target was one of the first major companies to advertise temporary, holiday job openings. The company announced last Monday that it is looking to hire 70,000 “seasonal team members” to work at its 1,793 stores across the country and 7,500 more workers for its fulfillment and distribution facilities.
“The Target team is famous for serving up exceptional shopping experiences,” Janna Potts, Target’s chief stores officer, said in a press release. “We can’t wait to welcome new seasonal team members on board to help us make the holidays extra bright for our guests.”
Amazon already has several temporary job listings, mostly for positions at fulfillment centers across the country.
Toys R Us announced its holiday hiring plans last Wednesday but did not offer specifics in the way of a nationwide number of new jobs. In a statement to Patch, the company said its biggest hiring needs were in New York (more than 4,500), Los Angeles (more than 2,700), Philadelphia (more than 1,500), Chicago (more than 1,200) and Washington, D.C. (more than 1,000).
It’s not just retailers loading up, either.
UPS is aiming to hire 95,000 workers for the season to make sure there are no delays in getting online orders to customers in time.
At UPS, the seasonal hires frequently find permanent work with the company. About 37 percent of last year’s temporary hires have since become full-time employees, according to company officials.
“For many it’s an opportunity to earn some extra cash for the holidays, but with many of our holiday hires getting permanent jobs with us, it can also be a gateway to a career,” said CEO David Abney, who started with the company loading trucks at night while attending college.
“It was a way to pay my way through college,” Abney said last year. “At the time, I had no idea then that I’d be leading the company someday but I could tell UPS was a place where a solid work ethic was appreciated and there were great opportunities for advancement.”
UPS’s biggest rival, FedEx, has not yet announced how many workers it plans to hire this year.
Not everyone is looking for part-time work on the holidays. As Rhode Island’s economy continues to slowly mend, there are regular job openings and job fairs happening. Nelipak, a manufacturer of advanced packaging solutions for the medical products industry, is hosting a job fair in Cranston on Oct. 1. And the state Department of Labor and Training maintains a “hot jobs” page highlighting a few openings across the state, and it rotates almost daily.