MIAMI (CBSMiaimi/AP) – Retailers gearing up for the holiday shopping season are about to hang up the “Help Wanted” sign.
On Monday, Walmart announced that they planned to hire 55,000 seasonal workers and elevated 70,000 more to part- or full-time positions; 35,000 temporary workers will become part-time and 35,000 part-time workers will gain full-time jobs.
“It’s our busiest time and because of the increase in traffic we need help, so that’s the reason for the increase in temporary staff,” says Sunrise Wal-Mart store manager Claudine McKenzie.
The shift means that Walmart will be offering more of its workers benefits. That’s significant because Walmart has been a target of attacks by labor groups for what they say are skimpy wages and benefits.
Coming off a slower-than-expected back-to-school season, stores are bracing for a tough holiday shopping period, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue. Analysts study the holiday hiring figures from retailers for clues about employment trends and sales expectations for the holiday season. Stores typically begin to hire for the holidays in mid-September and ramp up hiring in mid-October.
Last season, Walmart hired 50,000 workers and said it would offer more hours in general to its existing employees.
Walmart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is the nation’s largest private employer with 1.3 million full-time and part-time U.S. workers.
“Seasonal holiday, isn’t just retail,” says Mason Jackson CEO of WorkForce One in Broward County.
It’s also hotels and eating and drinking establishments so our season in south Florida kicks in October, so we’ll start seeing those listings soon.”
That’s music to the ears of Jeffrey Chase who has been out of work a year.
“It’s exceptional! Nothing like getting back into or remaining in the hospitality industry.”
Other retailers have also unveiled holiday hiring plans.
Target Corp. said last week that it plans to hire 70,000 workers, a 20 percent drop from a year ago as it tries to be more efficient in its hiring practices.
Macy’s which added 80,000 workers last year, is already advertising for seasonal help.
Department-store operator Kohl’s Corp. said last week that it plans to hire about 53,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season, slightly more than last year.
Employer consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. estimates that overall seasonal hiring will not change significantly from last year’s total, when hiring rose 14 percent to 751,800 positions between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.
And how do you get one of those seasonal jobs?
It’s fine to apply online, says Susan Leventhal an executive coach at WorkForce One. But she says it doesn’t hurt to go in person and meet your potential employer.
“Likeability factors more than anything else. A smile on the face. The ability to meet and greet people and show they care and want to serve.”
There is an added bonus to these seasonal jobs.
“People often overlook these temp jobs but statistics show that one-third become permanent,” says Mason Jackson.
Claudine McKenzie is a prime example.
“It takes a lot of hard work and determination but I myself started as a temp 17 years ago and I had no idea today I’d be a store manager,” she beams.
If you are planning on applying for a temp job don’t wait too long. Stores expect to make the hiring decisions by the end of October.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)