Best Places to Look for Seasonal Work for the 2014 Holidays
2014 is shaping up as a great year to land a job for the holidays, and it’s not just retailers that are hiring. Now's the time to apply.
Is it too late to try to find a seasonal job for the holidays? Where should I be looking?
2014 is a great year to look for a job for the holidays, which can be a good way to earn some extra cash or get your foot in the door for a longer-term career. "We could see retailers add more than 800,000 seasonal workers for the first time since 1999," says John Challenger, CEO of outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
More than one-fourth of the employers surveyed by CareerBuilder (including 43% of retailers) expect to hire seasonal workers this year – up from just over 20% last year. And 27% of the employers surveyed expect to increase pay for seasonal workers, with 63% paying $10 or more per hour and 19% paying $16 or more per hour. You may also qualify for an employee discount to help with holiday shopping.
It’s not too late to start looking. Some employers started accepting applications in late September or early October, but many will be in full hiring mode over the next few weeks and will start training new employees to prepare for the holiday shopping season, which heats up at Thanksgiving. Many large companies have Web sites specifically for job postings; find helpful links to many of them throughout this column.
Toys “R” Us, for example, plans to hire 45,000 seasonal employees at its stores and distribution centers nationwide – more than doubling its regular workforce. The company will continue to hire people throughout the holiday season until Christmas. Seasonal employees in its stores typically work between 16 to and 20 hours per week, says spokeswoman Alyssa Peera. The company has also been hiring seasonal employees at its distribution centers across the country, and will continue hiring through November.
Don’t limit yourself to retail businesses. Employers are offering a wide variety of seasonal jobs. Customer service-related jobs are the most popular (40%), but companies are also hiring for administrative/clerical jobs, shipping and delivery, accounting and finance, inventory management, information technology, marketing and hosting/greeting, according to the CareerBuilder survey.
With the surge in online shopping, Challenger recommends looking for jobs handling incoming and outgoing shipments, and for positions at warehouses and shipping facilities with retailers and transportation companies. For instance, UPS will have one of the biggest increases in seasonal hiring this year, with plans to hire 90,000 to 95,000 seasonal employees. The company is hiring package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers throughout the U.S. And FedEx expects to hire about 50,000 seasonal employees this year, 10,000 more than last year.
In addition to hiring workers for its retail stores, Best Buy is hiring seasonal workers for its eight large regional distribution centers for tasks such as picking items for delivery to stores, making sure products get onto the conveyor belt system, or packaging and shipping online orders. Amazon is hiring 80,000 seasonal workers for its 50 fulfillment centers in the U.S. and will have more than 15 sorting centers by the end of 2014, which add an extra layer of control for its delivery process.
Restaurants, caterers, hotels and entertainment venues often hire extra workers to help staff holiday parties. And even businesses that have no special connection to the holidays may need extra workers to help with accounting and other administrative work as they close out their books for 2014.
You can find seasonal jobs through Web sites such as CareerBuilder, Monster.com and CraigsList, and through local temp and staffing agencies. And it doesn’t hurt to visit businesses where you like to shop and ask if they need help during the holidays.
A seasonal job can be a great foot in the door for full-time work after the holidays. The CareerBuilder study found that 42% of the employers who are hiring seasonal workers expect to move some of them into full-time permanent roles after the holidays. Last year, 20% of the holiday workforce – 9,000 employees – continued to work with Toys “R” Us after the holiday season ended. Already in 2014, Amazon has moved more than 10,000 seasonal employees in the U.S. into regular, full-time roles.