September 14, 2016

UPS to hire 95,000 seasonal workers to handle peak volumes

Seasonal staffing to remain constant for third straight year.

By DC Velocity Staff

UPS Inc. said today it plans to hire about 95,000 seasonal employees to work the upcoming peak holiday shipping season—a level that, if it holds, will have kept the company's peak staffing needs constant for the third straight year.

The Atlanta-based transport and logistics giant will hire for full- and part-time positions—mostly package handlers, drivers, and driver-helpers—for an anticipated ramp-up in holiday volume that will start in November and run through January.

UPS will not forecast its 2016 holiday peak volumes until late next month.

After difficult peak seasons in 2013 and 2014,UPS did a better job last year of calibrating costs with end demand, in part by handling fewer parcels that were tendered very late in the cycle that could have unduly stressed its network. UPS was sharply criticized in 2013 for significant delivery delays. It invested heavily to add infrastructure for the 2014 peak season, only to find that volumes came in below anticipated levels. Though customers lauded UPS' 2014 performance, the increased costs without the volumes to match resulted in a hit to the company's bottom line.

Peak-season labor demand is expected to rise this year, along with workers' hourly wages, according to staffing firm ProLogistix. Demand for peak hourly labor is projected to increase by about 28 percent over the third quarter, while companies will pay a $1.50 to $3 hourly premium to attract and retain good warehouse and DC workers to work the season, the firm said.

ProLogistix projected that more than half of the part-time positions created during the 2015 peak turned into full-time year-round jobs. That is compared to just 10 percent of the positions in 2013 and 2014.

For its part, UPS said about 37 percent of workers hired for the 2015 peak now have some type of permanent job with the company.

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