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UPS preps to hire more than 100,000 essential seasonal employees for holiday peak

Atlanta-based global freight transportation and logistics services titan UPS today rolled out a big part of its Peak Season playbook, announcing that it expects to hire more than 100 essential seasonal employees, in an effort to support an anticipated significant uptick in package volume, from next month through January.

UPS said the openings it will be filling are for various positions, including: full- and part-time seasonal positions—primarily package handlers, drivers, driver helpers and personal vehicle drivers—adding it is offering competitive wages across multiple shifts in hundreds of locations across the country.

“We’re preparing for another safe, record peak holiday season. With COVID-19 continuing to impact Americans, our services are more important than ever,” said Nando Cesarone, President, U.S. Operations, in a statement. “We plan to hire more than 100,000 people for seasonal jobs, many of whom will have an offer in hand within 30 minutes of applying. Our seasonal hires will help us provide the most reliable service in the industry, just like we did last year.”

What’s more, while these job opportunities are for the upcoming holiday peak, the company said that, in many cases, they lead to full-time career opportunities, too.

As an example, UPS noted that going back over the last three years, roughly one-third of the people UPS hired for seasonal package handler jobs subsequently took on permanent positions for UPS, after the holidays. And it also observed that roughly 138,000 current UPS staffers, or about one-third of its total workforce, began their UPS careers in seasonal roles.

A UPS spokesperson told LM that the company's approach to seasonal hiring is somewhat different when compared to pre-pandemic times, in that it has had high levels of demand and volume, going back to the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, while describing UPS’s Peak Season as absolutely unique.

“Our volume goes from an average of about 20 million packages per day to somewhere close to doubling,” he said. “And there is still a peak after the holidays, due to holiday gift cards that contribute to post-holiday sales and also returns. We keep our seasonal hires through January, which is unique, as most retailers typically cut their seasonal help loose on December 24.

As for what is new, in regards to its approach to seasonal hiring this year compared to past years, the spokesperson said that UPS used to invest about 80% of its advertising dollars for employment advertising through traditional channels, including print, television and other traditional outlets, as recent as four years ago.

“That has since completely flipped, to the point where it is closer to 80% or 90% and is done digitally or through social [media] channels,” he said. “About 70% of everybody we hire right now applies and gets hired through their cell phones. That is a sea change, in terms of what we are starting to call our digital approach, for hiring and other aspects of how we nor run our business. Digital is now becoming a main focus.”

Another key approach to seasonal hiring, the UPS spokesperson said, is finding people where they live and spend their time, which is largely on social media, smart phones, and tablet devices. And as UPS executive Cesarone explained that a prospective hire can receive a job offer within 30 minutes of applying, the spokesman said that as recently as last year, that process could take up to two weeks, depending on the location, the person, background checks, and other factors.

“What UPS did was strip out anything that is not essential to the application and job offer process,” he said. “Not everyone has two hours to fill out an application and do the question-and- answer process. Speed and brevity—in less than 30 minutes—is the new mantra. It took some back-end work and IT investment, which took more than a year, to get things to where they are right now. It was a major effort, and I know our HR people are really proud of it. You need to be quick, we are trying for mass penetration here, and you have to do everything within your power to make the process easy and friendly.”

With a 114-year history as a company, the spokesman observed that UPS has a very good handle on hiring people, as it has navigated various ups and downs, in the form of economic depressions, recessions, world wars, and other challenges like COVID-19 pandemic over that span.

But what it is going through now, he said, is very unique and infinitely challenging.

“It is the tightest labor market ever,” he said. “The key is differentiation, and I think that is something we have become very good at [as a company]. One of the ways we differentiate ourselves from other companies that hire for the holidays and are looking for talent is that our seasonal jobs very often lead to careers.”

Article Topics

Logistics Trends
Peak Season
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About the Author

Jeff Berman's avatar
Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review and is a contributor to Robotics 24/7. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis.
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