For Carl Geissler, picking up a holiday job last year was a way to try something new before making a commitment. It was also a way for the company, JoAnn's Fabric, to take a chance on him.
“I didn't know if I'd like working with fabric,” he said.
Turned out, he did and he's good at it. He since has been promoted to supervisor and is looking forward to the upcoming holiday season, he said.
Jobs are plentiful this time of year, thanks to the busy holiday shopping season and end-of-year tasks. Many firms beef up administrative staff during year-end to help with data entry, filing and human resources, said Roxie McLerran, Oklahoma branch manager for Accountemps, a temp agency. There are local job openings in manufacturing, oil and gas, the service industry and more.
She said some applicants are retired and looking to stay in the workforce by picking up part-time, temporary jobs. Others are unemployed and hoping a seasonal gig will lead to full-time employment. Last year, 30 percent of Target's holiday workers remained on the payroll for year-round positions, the retailer said.
More jobs, hours
Retail has been a traditional source of holiday jobs, with applicants wanting to make extra money for gifts and even earn a discount at their favorite store. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are expected to hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal workers this year, comparable to the 607,500 holiday jobs created last year.
“The retail industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs every holiday season by adding new staff in stores, distribution centers and customer service departments across the country. In addition to the newly created jobs, many retailers also offer existing staff the opportunity to work longer hours if they want,” said federation President and CEO Matthew Shay.
“New jobs help people support their families, and for some, seasonal employment can turn into a career opportunity once the holidays have passed,” he said.
Major retailers Toys R Usand Kohl'sannounced plans to hire more seasonal workers than last year, with Toys R Us hiring 45,000 workers (up from 40,000 last year) and Kohl's adding more than 52,000 seasonal workers, a 10 percent increase compared to 2011.
Target said it will add 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal workers in its stores and distribution centers this holiday season and Walmart is hiring more than 50,000 nationwide.
Other opportunities include Teleflora, which says it will be filling 1,000 seasonal work-at-home sales positions and Williams-Sonoma, which has advertised a need for 200 seasonal employees at its Oklahoma City call center.
Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby hired 7,000 employees from September 2011 to December 2011, and 1,700, or just under 25 percent, were seasonal. Those workers receive the same wages as permanent employees and qualify for a 15 percent discount on purchases. They qualify for benefits after 90 days.
“There may be people who are really looking to get their foot in the door,” said Mandi Broadfoot, Hobby Lobby spokeswoman. “I don't see any manager that wouldn't find a way to keep on someone with great talent.”
Bob Funk, chief executive officer at Express Employment Professionals, said he expects an increase in seasonal hiring this year. In an uncertain economy, companies tend to hire temporary and flexible employees instead of permanent ones. Temporary work can be a benefit to job seekers, too.
“We have temporary employees that transfer from one company to another until they find one they really want to work for,” Funk said.
Top 10 seasonal and part-time positions
• Sales associate
• Merchandise association
• Store team member
• Customer service representative
• Material handler