Depending on which part of the country you live in, mid-September still offers summer weather and even in northern states, the fall chill has yet to set in.
Still, even as people continue to spend their weekends at the beach or their afternoons on the ball field, major retailers have started to turn their attention to the holiday shopping season. Even though it's 99 days until Christmas on the day this story was written (Sept. 16), a number of chains have already begun staffing up.
It's not that stores plan to have Santa in a bathing suit or that they hope to kick off Christmas sales before people have even started thinking about Halloween. Instead, it's a case of having to start early when you plan to add massive numbers of workers.
These are not the only companies that will add seasonal workers -- ultimately many more will -- but they are the ones getting the earliest jump on the hiring process. If you need a full-time, long-term job, taking a seasonal opening can be a foot in the door or, if you just want to make some extra cash during the Christmas season, these are the places to look right now.
Target has big plans
While Target (NYSE:TGT) has suffered from slowing sales and less customers coming to its stores over the last quarter, that has not dimmed its outlook for the holidays at all. The retailer plans to hire 70,000 additional workers to help it get through the holiday season and it has already started adding workers at its distribution and fulfillment facilities.
"As we have in the past, we'll work with our existing team members across the country to offer them additional hours first," said Chief Stores Officer Tina Tyler in a press release. "Then, we'll bring in about 70,000 team members to help us through the exciting and busy season. The work we do together will help bring the holidays to life for the millions of guests who visit our Target stores."
Someone needs to load Santa's sleigh
The rise in online shopping has been a boon for shipping companies and the holiday season has seen a massive increase in deliveries. To meet that demand, United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) plans to hire about 95,000 seasonal employees to support the volume increase it sees running from November through January.
CEO David Abney, who started with the company as a part-time employee, noted that from 2012 through 2014 holiday seasons, over 37% of the people UPS hired for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired in a permanent position when the holidays were over.
"For many, it's an opportunity to earn some extra cash for the holidays," said Abney, who started loading trucks at night in 1974 while in college. "But with many of our holiday hires getting permanent jobs with us, it can also be a gateway to a career."
Want to work from home?
In recent years, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) has become an increasingly dominant part of the holiday season. The company will almost certainly add seasonal workers at its distribution facilities to handle that volume, but it has gotten a jump on the holidays by recruiting for work-from-home, flexible seasonal customer service employees.
"The ideal, Seasonal work from home Amazonian is internet savvy and has technical aptitude when it comes to online tools and research," wrote the company in a job ad. "You will think outside the box, solve problems, answer questions, and resolve concerns presented by our Amazon customers. Our customers contact us primarily by phone & chat and we hope you can help us deliver customer obsessed results!"
These positions pay $10 an hour. Amazon specifically notes that overtime may be required and "working hours for all staff increase substantially during our peak season." The online retailer has limited these jobs to workers in certain states, which it lists in the hiring notice.
There are a lot of jobs
In addition to these three major employers, a number of other companies have already announced seasonal hiring plans:
Toys R Us: The toy chain plans to add thousands of part-time workers at its stores and distribution facilities, according to USA Today. The chain plans to hold two national hiring days at its various locations on Oct. 10 and Nov. 11.
J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP): The resurgent retailer plans to add 40,000 seasonal workers -- 38,000 in stores and the rest to help fulfill digital orders, reported the Dallas Morning News. That's up from 30,000 last year.
Radial: This may not be a name most people know, but the former eBay Enterprise, a company that helps fulfill digital orders, plans to add 20,000 seasonal employees, according to Internet Retailer. That's a nearly 300% increase over the company's 7,000-employee workforce.
Other companies that have already begun seasonal hiring include Williams Sonoma, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Kohl's.