Hiring for the Holidays: How a 3PL Can Help Amongst the Labor Shortage

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The holiday season is almost here, but in the shadow of the upcoming months are retailers that are falling short on seasonal employees to meet the upcoming rush.1 There is a widening gap between openings and workers that will create more competition for seasonal hires this year. The number of new positions is outpacing labor pool growth by 6:1.2 The scramble to find these workers has already started, but with record-low unemployment and rising wages in other industries, retailers will need to take a look and evaluate new avenues to attract seasonal employees.3

Large retailers such as Target and Macy’s have both announced huge hiring numbers for this season; 120,000 and 80,000 seasonal employees respectively, with the majority of these being in distribution and fulfillment centers.4 This push for seasonal workers has been promoted by offering new incentives, perks, and benefits to attract the in-demand talent to ensure that stores are stocked and e-commerce orders are fulfilled.5 With 37 percent of all jobs in the U.S. being in supply chain logistics, partnering with a 3PL provider can help provide and manage the seasonal talent could greatly improve recruiting.6 Below are some further benefits of partnering with a 3PL provider:

  • Consistency: A primary complaint that businesses receive from employees about seasonal work is the inconsistency and insufficient or erratic hours.7 3PL providers can offer consistent schedules with various shifts depending on the worker’s preference, while also allowing for flexibility. This is possible because 3PL providers work with multiple retailers, sometimes in the same facility, which allows for flexibility in shifts and positions during the busy holiday season.
  • Efficiency: 3PL providers have extensive experience when it comes to managing seasonal surges. Utilizing the knowledge, technology, and tools available to drive efficiencies for both retailers and seasonal workers through labor management systems, they are able to optimize productivity, limit the number of touches on products, and deliver a positive solution for all the links in the supply chain.
  • Proficiency: Although seasonal work may only last for a few months, the skills and training received during that time can benefit the employees in their future careers. 3PL providers offer unique opportunities and challenges that roll over into future job opportunities, within supply chain logistics and other industries. Fostering an entrepreneurial environment, 3PL providers often have room for opportunity and growth beyond seasonal surges should workers be interested in pursuing a career in supply chain logistics.

Although it’s unclear how influential and enticing new incentives and perks will be this holiday season, retailers hiring seasonal workers for their distribution and e-commerce fulfillment facilities should consider the benefits from partnering with a 3PL provider to supply and manage seasonal labor.8


  1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/out-of-stock-this-holiday-season-store-workers-1537176600?mod=djemlogistics_h
  2. https://www.slideshare.net/acoxdatex/labor-shortages-in-the-supply-chain-workforce
  3. https://www.wsj.com/articles/out-of-stock-this-holiday-season-store-workers-1537176600?mod=djemlogistics_h
  4. https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/ups-hire-100k-seasonal-employees-holiday-peak-season/532604/
  5. https://www.wsj.com/articles/out-of-stock-this-holiday-season-store-workers-1537176600?mod=djemlogistics_h
  6. https://hbr.org/2018/03/the-supply-chain-economy-and-the-future-of-good-jobs-in-america
  7. https://www.wsj.com/articles/out-of-stock-this-holiday-season-store-workers-1537176600?mod=djemlogistics_h
  8. https://herald-review.com/business/happy-holidays-target-macy-s-kohl-s-dangle-discounts-gift/article_8381ab76-5bb5-5250-ae0d-65e8ffcdb047.html