Target, UPS, Amazon and Kohl's are offering better pay and these perks to attract over 230,000 seasonal workers

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 22 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Wiig as Target cashier, Justin Timberlake as Peg during the "Target" skit on May 9, 2009

We've barely scratched the surface of September, yet behind the scenes at corporate headquarters, retailers are already preparing for the holiday shopping season.

This week, Target and UPS made formal announcements of their holiday hiring plans, and they amount to over 230,000 seasonal workers between the two companies.

Amazon, on the heels of its Career Day announcement that the company will hire over 30,000 permanent staffers, also said it plans to recruit tens of thousands of seasonal workers for the holidays. Kohl's opened up seasonal applications in July but still has thousands of open gigs across stores and distribution centers, with more to come.

Here's a rundown of what types of roles are up for grabs, plus how companies are upping the ante with better pay and perks to attract workers in a tight labor market.


Target plans to hire 125,000 seasonal team members at more than 1,800 stores across the country. Responsibilities range from customer service to stocking shelves.

The retailer will also double its staff focused on fulfilling orders for Order Pickup and Drive Up services. An additional 8,000 seasonal workers will be added to 39 distribution and fulfillment centers nationwide, where workers will process freight to stores and fulfill online orders.

Pay starts at $13 an hour, and all hourly team members receive benefits such as a 10% discount at Target, an additional 20% wellness discount off produce and fitness gear, the opportunity to earn holiday pay on Thanksgiving and Christmas and flexible scheduling.

The retailer will hold seasonal hiring events at every Target store from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13 and Nov. 2 to Nov. 3 to interview with store leaders on the spot.

Learn more here.


UPS expects to hire about 100,000 seasonal workers to support higher demand in package delivery from November 2019 to January 2020. The full- and part-time positions include package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers.

A portion of seasonal hires will staff temporary facilities the company builds specifically for the holiday rush. UPS estimates holiday shipping activity will double its usual average of 20 million deliveries per day.

The Associated Press reports that UPS paid an average of $10.10 per hour for seasonal workers in 2018. This year, under a new labor contract, pay starts at $14 an hour and, for truck drivers, can go up to $30 an hour. Some competitive markets may offer higher wages and potential bonuses.

In addition to hourly pay, eligible seasonal employees who are students can earn up to $1,300 toward college expenses for three months of continuous employment through UPS's Earn and Learn program. The company notes that in the last three years, 35% of seasonal workers were later hired as permanent UPS workers after the holidays were over. Even Chairman and CEO David Abney started his UPS career as a part-time employee.

Interested job-seekers can apply online or at a local employment fair at a UPS location in their area.

Learn more here.


Amazon hasn't released official numbers yet but says it plans to hire "tens of thousands" of seasonal workers ahead of the holiday rush. All U.S. employees will earn at least the company's minimum wage of $15 an hour.

The e-commerce giant hired about 100,000 seasonal workers in 2018, which was down by 20,000 from the year prior. In a statement provided to CNBC, Amazon noted that they've focused on more ongoing full-time hiring at fulfillment centers and other facilities, which may explain the lower numbers around seasonal hiring efforts.

Amazon recruiters have previously told CNBC Make It that a good way to get hired is to study up on the company's 14 leadership principles and practice discussing how you demonstrate those values. Pay particular attention to "customer obsession" and "bias for action," suggests Sean Kelley, Amazon worldwide operations talent acquisition director.

Learn more here.


Kohl's began its seasonal hiring spree across 500 stores in July. More roles opened in August at stores nationwide, as well as the company's nine distribution centers and five e-commerce fulfillment centers. Currently, the retailer lists about 2,500 seasonal store positions and a handful of seasonal warehouse positions.

Beginning in October, the company will hire up to 50 seasonal workers in 130 stores to expand its digital ordering pilot program. Associates will operate localized e-commerce fulfillment centers by supporting in-store pickup, ship-from-store orders and more.

Store associates are offered a 15% Kohl's discount, flexible scheduling and weekly paychecks. Material handlers work from distribution centers to pick, pack and ship merchandise nationwide. Staffers there are offered a free on-site health center, paid breaks and weekly paychecks.

Last year, Kohl's hired more than 90,000 seasonal workers.

Learn more here.

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