Seasonal Jobs Go Begging: Are The Unemployed Getting Picky?

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With unemployment hovering around 8 percent, you'd think unemployed workers would be champing at the bit to take a job -- any job. But shipping companies such as UPS Inc. and GSI Commerce Inc. can't find enough workers to staff warehouses in Louisville, Ky., a region with a 7.5 percent jobless rate.

According to the local Courier-Journal newspaper, UPS still had 200 openings paying $8.50 an hour on four shifts this week, three months after it announced plans to hire 1,000 temporary workers. To help recruiting efforts, the Atlanta-based parcel-delivery company has offered employees $150 bonuses for referring new hires, who also get the bonus.

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Meanwhile, GSI Commerce, an eBay Inc. subsidiary, needs 300 people in the Louisville area, offering applicants wages of $9.25 to $10 an hour plus bonuses tied to attendance and performance. Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. is also hiring in the region, offering a starting wage of $12 an hour for positions in packing and shipping, among others.

So why are the jobs going unfilled? In part, the shortage is caused by the large number of shipping companies in the area -- dozens of which have been attracted by the UPS Worldport sorting hub at the Louisville International Airport.

"We have attracted so many companies to come to the area and bring jobs here that they are competing for some of the same workers that we would like to have out in our hub," UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot told the newspaper.

More: Best And Worst Seasonal Jobs

Another hurdle in attracting staff is the temporary nature of the work. Many workers prefer full-time jobs -- in part because they often provide benefits and a greater degree of job security. Also, those who are currently receiving unemployment benefits risk losing that income should they take what, for most, is a short-term job.

But workers eager for full-time jobs may be too hasty in turning their noses up at part-time seasonal work, since some of those jobs turn into year-round employment. A recent survey of employers by CareerBuilder showed that 39 percent of those hiring seasonal help plan to transition some employees into full-time, permanent staff -- up from 30 percent last year.

"A seasonal job is like an audition," Terry Foy, a human-resources vice president for Macy's Inc., told The Wall Street Journal in a 2009 interview. Temporary work gives workers an ideal scenario in which to showcase their skills and work ethic. And it also provides opportunity to network within a company and find out which departments are hiring and who the hiring managers are. (Here are more tips on how to turn a seasonal job into a permanent one.)





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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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Robert Smith

From what I am reading, it seem ppl assume that everyone who applies for unemployment gets it. I was "not qualified" for unemployment. Anyway, I never got it, but that's not my comment or story. I have both a Bachelors and a Masters Degree. I'm also retired from the military (before you think Officer, I earned my degrees while enlisted on active duty by going to school and doing homework almost every night over a period of 16 years). After my wife died several years ago, resigned from a well paying job. About four months later, I took a job out of the area. It didn't work for either of us so I came home. That was June 2009. NO JOBS. In late October, I took a part-time seasonal job with a nationally known store, half or less pay that I was used to, fluctuating hours, but it was work and I wasn't at home cursing the world and bouncing off the walls. I WAS picked up as a permanent part-time employee. While bringing in the extra income to supplement a bare-boned income, it gave me time to myself to continue with my process of recovery, contact with other ppl, something to do several days a week, and time to keep looking for better work. I now have a full time job paying decent wages, overall I earn more each year than I did, by myself, prior to my wife's death. And you know what, I still work at the part-time job one day a week ( I like the ppl there ), and I never received any unemployment benefits.

December 16 2012 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
robertdavoli

when they start paying a liveable wage plus ins. and pension then you will have all the workers you need. that is the way it was in the 60,s and 70,s before america became the land of greed.

December 13 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Treo6000

It is an employer's market now. They want to get the best of the best, for the least money. I have a Master's Degree and years of experience, yet employers want to pay nothing for you to work for them.

December 13 2012 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
v.pritchard

No, it's the employERS who are picky. I have a Bachelors degree, and I have applied for everything from management to drive-thru cashier and have not even had one interview.

December 12 2012 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
NervousCat

Employers are picky too. They want perfect matches with a long laundry list of skills. It cuts both ways.

December 06 2012 at 12:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
debbiel13

Are the unemplyed getting picky says the headline, I think its because you can get more from unemployment benefits than you can a salary from those company's.

December 04 2012 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shelmichelle2

I had a job in a public school in Rockland County for 12 years. I have B.S in Elem. Eduation, an M.S. in Special Education . Prior to that I subbed(when 4 kids were finally all in school) for 12 years. I was in every single room in every single elementary school, the Middle School.nd the Hight School when I subbed. I was hired as a T.A. in the Middle School.I I also had classes a a teacher in Support in Middle School. I did lunch duty, and afterschool HW club. I worked with some difficult kids. I had a great reputation and got along with my peers . I loved every minute of every day and found something positive in every child I ever taught. I privately tutored all subjects and organizational planning to many, many children. I had a super reputation(economy sent THAT down the drain) My permanent certification lapsed. No one ever called me on it. The certification lapse was my fault, but I knew the administrators for years and yyears and it just went that way. but in the middle of the school year the new administration called me on it and I had to "get out of Dodge "or lose my pension and health insurance. I did a years amount of retirement planning in one week with the help of some spectacular people. I was crushed beyond belief. I was not the only one to be forced out. The entire team of administrators either retired or was fired after that scene, but it was too late for me. Sometimes adhering to the new regime w/o taking the employee and especially the kids in I was told if I took a 3 hour State T.A. exam, got re-fingerprinted, and took a course in violence in the clessroom I could apply as a sub. I passed the test,did it all, and called central office months later , as instructed, to sub. I was told only certified teachers would be hired at about $120.00 a day. The jobless glut keeps the list long and there are many without jobs. I was not allowed. I called another school district in county and they said, "sure we will hire you, per diem, at $9.00 an hour. After being salaried as a tenured TA, I just said no thank you. Something is wrong in this country. I am 66. I was 64 when all this happened. a young and vital 66. This is the first time I ever told this story. It still hurts like hell.

December 04 2012 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shelmichelle2's comment
alexisblssd

You really have some nerve. YOU allowed your certification to lapse, knowingly and you have the nerve to ask what is wrong with this country? No what is wrong with you!!!

December 04 2012 at 11:59 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
FCI Fincl Serv

These seasonal jobs are usually taken by students on break from school or college. Taking one of these jobs will result in the loss of unemployment and other government benefits that were paid for when the "unemployed" person was working. These season job pay a lot less than the "unemployed" person gets from his unemployment benefits. Having been a "seasonal worker" during my college years, I know that these "seasonal jobs" end with end of the holiday season! That is why they are called "seasonal jobs"!

December 04 2012 at 2:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Spawk

"A seasonal job is like an audition" Terry? That's a laugh. As a full-time multi-year associate, I can count the number of holiday workers I've seen converted to full on zero hands.

The fact of the matter is, these temporary seasonal jobs are the worst of the worst. No job security, lousy pay, terrible training, poor managing, and you are treated like a piece of garbage, expiration date shortly after the holidays are over. I don't blame anyone for choosing unemployment over one of these gigs.

December 04 2012 at 12:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ad.jay

Maybe and more than likely, there are a lot of lazy people out there who are choosing not to get a job and live on whatever they can get from the government. Personally, I have put in a 20 or more applications for part time or full time work I don't care what it is I just want to work. Most of the applications are to different places just a few repeats but I still have not received any response back. I've done both on line and paper walk in applications to places that have giant banners stretched across the front of their building that declare "Now Hiring" but I still hear nothing back from them. My problem might be that I don't have a lot of experience in the civilian job sector. Only a few months before I joined the military at 17 I worked at a car wash. Then I got out at 21 and started going to college full time. So military experience for 4 years, a few months at a car wash and college doesn't seem to do me any good out here. It also seems that every employer wants you to have so many years of experience before they hire you. That's great and all but I can't see how you need years of experience performing menial tasks. Stocking grocery store shelves or working at a distribution center moving boxes around, filling and sorting or whatever it may be. The point is it's not that difficult to comprehend it just seems like they don't want to a few moments to explain to a new guy how to do it properly. I filled out an application for a Sears warehouse job and it had 90 personality test questions along with all the other basic questions. It doesn't seem necessary to answer all of that for low paying job. I'll take crap pay just give me something,.

December 03 2012 at 11:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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