- UPS will hire 100,000 seasonal workers starting in October to work through January, according to an announcement Wednesday.
- A large number of the temporary hires will move into permanent positions, Charlene Thomas, chief human resources officer, said in a statement. The majority of the hires will be package handlers, drivers, driver-helpers and personal vehicle drivers.
- This is the third year in a row UPS has set out to hire 100,000 workers for peak season. But this year the seasonal hires will start one month earlier. The pandemic has sent e-commerce volumes soaring for two quarters, and stakeholders are predicting a more drawn-out peak season, with topline volume expectations still hazy. DHL Express has also announced plans to hire 7,000 associates for peak season.
UPS' U.S. daily parcel volume increased nearly 23% year over year (YoY) in the second quarter, during which it hired an additional 40,000 employees to handle the parcel growth.
On Carol Tomé's first earnings call as CEO of UPS, she predicted Q2 would be the e-commerce peak for the year, and the carrier wouldn't need to add significant capacity ahead of the holiday season. "Better, not bigger," is the CEO's philosophy, which has already ushered in hefty peak season surcharge increases starting in October in an effort to "be selective in terms of what goes through the network."
Wednesday's announcement suggests the CEO's plan to "sweat the assets" UPS already has may apply to infrastructure, but not people. UPS' holiday hiring targets match the number from the last two years amid very different circumstances and a much lower degree of certainty.
The National Retail Federation's Global Port Tracker is estimating a spike in import volume in August that could indicate retailers are optimistic about the holiday season.
"It’s important to be careful how much to read into these numbers after all we've seen this year, but retailers are importing far more merchandise for the holidays than we expected even a month ago," NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement Wednesday. Some of the imports are replenishing depleted inventories, but Gold said the spike is "the clearest sign yet that we could be in for a much happier holiday season than many had thought."
UPS and DHL are planning for such an outcome. FedEx hired 55,000 additional workers for peak season last year and has yet to make a similar announcement this year, but a Fox Business report suggests it may hire 70,000 workers for peak 2020.