Seasonal workers are in high demand across the country as retailers try to fill positions that can help with distribution and contactless shopping ahead of a holiday season when many shoppers are expected to buy their gifts online.
Online retail giant Amazon wants to hire more than 100,000 seasonal workers the needs across the country.
Last year, the company hired 200,000 seasonal workers nationwide. But throughout 2020, it added more regular workers — more than 275,000 since April as Amazon responded to heightened demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
In Minnesota, local seasonal warehouse employees hired to sort and scan packages and get customer orders ready for delivery at Amazon’s sortation center in Shakopee could earn one-time $1,000 sign-on bonuses, according to job listings.
Other positions that Amazon is looking to fill locally include all shifts at delivery stations in Eagan and Maple Grove, the heavy bulky station in Plymouth, and the sortation center in Brooklyn Park. Seasonal workers will have access to some regular employee benefits like free, on-site COVID-19 testing.
“We know this is a hard time because of the pandemic and many people are still out of work, and we’re proud to be creating jobs here locally,” said Kirsten Wenker, a Minnesota-based Amazon spokeswoman, in a statement.
“We prepare year-round for the holiday season,” she said. “We employ seasonal or temporary employees to manage variation in customer demand. These seasonal employees supplement our regular workforce and play an important role in meeting increased demand, as all of our incredible employees come together to deliver magical experiences for customers throughout the holiday season.”
Minneapolis-headquartered Target plans to add 130,000 temporary workers nationwide about the same it did last year, however, it is prepared to designate twice as many of those workers focused on contactless services for drive-up and order pickup for the holidays. The retailer also plans to hire more seasonal team members to staff its distribution centers.
To date, Target has seen an increase in seasonal worker application volume compared to last year, according to a Target spokeswoman.
Target plans to tap 6,000 local hires at stores and 1,400 at distribution centers. Listed local seasonal jobs include store positions from security personnel to front store attendants. Jobs at distribution centers and warehouses come with the possibility of earning up to a $1,250 sign on bonus. Last year, Target offered similar sign-on bonuses for seasonal hires in the Twin Cities, as well as other distribution centers.
Seasonal workers are a holiday tradition as stores rush to hire short-term employees that can help with the gift-buying rush. This year, many stores have expanded the times when sales will run, with some having already previewed deals last month, to limit crowds out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumers are expected to be more wary of shopping in physical stores with many surveyed to take advantage of online shopping options and store pickup and drive-ups.
Adobe Analytics said in its holidays predictions report last week that online holiday sales in the United States will total $189 billion this year, a new record with a 33% year-over-year increase, which would be equal to traditionally two years’ growth in one season. Instead of the period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday being the big sales driver, Adobe expects November and December to turn into “cyber months” this year.
“As retailers adapt to consumers’ new behaviors in this pandemic, we expect earlier discounts, more shipping and pickup options and uncertainty around in-store purchases to drive this year’s online holiday sales to record highs,” said John Copeland, head of marketing and customer insights at Adobe.
Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy wants to hire thousands of employees for its stores and distribution centers this year, but the retailer didn’t give an exact amount.
Those that help deliver gifts, groceries and other packages are also stepping up their hiring.
Target-owned delivery service company Shipt said it wants to add 100,000 additional contract workers to help shop orders during the busy holidays which would triple its number of shoppers since the beginning of the year.
FedEx recently announced plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers, a jump from 55,000 last year. UPS wants to hire more than 100,000 seasonal employees to support the anticipated increase in package volume. Local jobs include a seasonal personal vehicle package drivers who use their own cars to deliver packages.
“We’re preparing for a record peak holiday season,” said Charlene Thomas, UPS chief human resources officer, in a statement.
(Star Tribune staff writer Kavita Kumar contributed to this report.)
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