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November 14, 2016

The race is on to attract seasonal holiday workers

Courtesy / kmf146, Flickr
Courtesy / kmf146, Flickr
Retailers like L.L.Bean are boosting efforts to find seasonal workers, including more flexible schedules, better benefits and higher pay.
Photo / Peter Van Allen
The newly built reindeer barn and geodesic Night Sky dome at L.L.Bean’s Freeport flagship store. To help celebrate the holidays, the company will house live reindeer in the barn and offer viewings of an Aurora Borealis projection within the dome.

The holiday shopping season is upon us and retailers are offering more flexible schedules, better benefits and higher pay to attract seasonal workers.

At L.L.Bean, 5,700 people are being brought on nationally for the holiday rush. In addition to offering perks, the retailer gets the word out about the openings using social media, job fairs and emails to customers, according to The Portland Press Herald, which spoke to Carolyn Beem, senior public affairs officer. Despite the outreach and perks, the company is still running behind its employment needs. It had 60 positions to fill as of Friday, at a time when there are usually zero open jobs.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., in its annual forecast, said retailers nationwide plan to add 700,000 workers for the holiday season, slightly less than the 738,000 seasonal workers added a year ago. This year, bricks-and-mortar retailer Target has added or plans to add 77,500, while Amazon expects to hire 120,000 workers. To get presents where they're going, UPS is adding 95,000 seasonal workers and FedEx is hiring an extra 50,000, the outplacement firm said.

In September, the National Retail Federation forecast that retailers would add between 640,000 and 690,000 workers, on par with the 675,300 that were brought on a year ago. That does not include indirectly related positions in manufacturing, transportation or fulfillment.

Monster.com, the job site, recommends that staff-starved retailers follow six steps, including recruiting through existing employees and hiring through their own "best customers," who are already familiar with the products and love the brand. Oh yeah, and don't wait until the holidays to start recruiting.

Photo: kmf164/Flickr

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