The annual holiday shopping rush might be a headache for consumers, but for warehouse workers, it translates to one massive opportunity for seasonal work.
According to staffing services and outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, retail stores will hire 738,800 seasonal workers, about the same as last year, but lower than 10 years ago. In contrast, seasonal jobs related to distribution will increase by more than 200,000 compared to the same period last year.
eCommerce Biggest Factor Behind Demand
It comes as no surprise why retailers are hiring warehouse workers but not retail staff. Although the majority of holiday spending is expected to happen in actual brick and mortar stores, many retailers also understand the need to ramp up their eCommerce spending if they want to compete with giants like Amazon and Target.
Target has already stated that it plans to activate more than 1000 stores as shipping points for eCommerce orders over the holiday season — up from the 460 stores during the previous holiday season. Likewise, Walmart said that it would open more distribution centers to accommodate online orders.
Target also announced that it would hire around 70,000 seasonal workers for the holidays, about the same number as last year. However, the retail giant also said that they would hire at least 7,500 more workers for eCommerce-related jobs.
Challenger’s report also noted that FedEx and UPS would combine to add more than 150,000 workers for the holiday season. In addition, Radial, a distribution and call center firm, is expected to add at least 20,000 seasonal workers.
Amazon Still Leading the Way
Still, these figures pale in comparison to Amazon’s seasonal hiring plans. The company announced that it would add over 120,000 seasonal jobs across their fulfillment centers, sortation centers, and customer service centers in the United States, plus 8,000 warehouse jobs in their Southern California sites.
The demand for warehouse workers comes at a time when eCommerce penetration is at its highest. eCommerce sales now account for more than 10 percent of all sales during the months of November and December, bringing in at least $97 billion last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Not surprisingly, Amazon is the force to be reckoned with in the eCommerce industry.
If anything, these placement forecasts might suggest that retailers have learned their lesson last year, when the logistics and distribution sectors experienced a shortage of warehouse workers, which can only translate to headaches on the customer end.
While the advent of eCommerce may have helped retailers control costs on the traditional side of retail operations, it has also introduced a new set of challenges, this time related with pack and distributing merchandise and other goods.
Provided the number of eCommerce transactions remains high, warehouse workers should continue to be in demand, particularly during “hot” shopping seasons.
Get more insights on jobs and positions in the warehouse niche and related industries by scheduling a consultation with the staffing specialists of Top Notch Personnel. Contact us today to learn more about our services.