December 2nd, 2011

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Holiday Temp Work Not Only in Retail Sector

Santa's cart

Hundreds of thousands of temp workers will help deliver holiday cheer in 2011.

Over the monthlong span from Black Friday until Christmas, stores of all types and sizes hire temporary employees to help keep the surge of customers from queueing up too deeply in their velvet-rope mazes.

In her “Ask Kim” column, Money Smart Solutions writer Kim Lankford reports that three retail giants — Macy’s, Toys “R” Us, and Best Buy — alone will combine to hire over 100,000 temporary workers for the holiday season. But the surge in additional holiday staffing goes beyond retailing, Kim explains:

Shipping and delivery companies, caterers and other hospitality businesses, entertainment venues and manufacturers (especially those that create holiday gifts) tend to hire extra workers.

Indeed, shipping/delivery and inventory management jobs will account for a full one-quarter of all holiday employment according to this nifty graphic from Temporary contract labor in stock rooms, warehouses, and fulfillment centers are critical for making sure holiday wish lists don’t go unanswered by Santa Claus, especially in this day and age of online shopping.

Who’s hiring? MSNBC’s Bottom Line blogger Eve Tahmincioglu mentions UPS will add 55,000 seasonal workers in 2011, while over at Bloomberg Businessweek, Natalie Doss reports FedEx will bring on 20,000 workers, an 18% increase from 2010, between now and Christmas, with the peak of their shipping season happening next week. Doss writes:

FedEx said it expects to move more than 17 million shipments on Dec. 12, which would make the day its busiest ever. That would be a 10 percent gain from FedEx’s busiest day in 2010.

Ironically, Charles Archer’s November 29 op-ed column in City Limits, entitled “Why It’s Time to Hire the Disabled,” doesn’t address this seasonal hiring surge. It’s ironic because the CEO of the Evelyn Douglin Center for Serving People in Need, Inc. proceeds to tick off a list of skills found in people with disabilities that reads like a perfect match for businesses in need of contract labor. She says:

I have learned many are capable of organizing, customer service, communication, commitment, bookkeeping, and merchandising to name a few… The commitment and loyalty of the disabled are unmatched. They report to work daily, under any circumstances and do so with a smile.

Have you ever done temp work during the holidays? Post your experience in the comments section below. Or, if you know of any businesses in the Lowell, Lawrence, or Wakefield area that are hiring seasonal staff for light assembly or other fulfillment duties, tell our contract services division.

Image by myeralan (Alan Myers), used under its Creative Commons license.

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