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Local retailers expected to increase hiring and wages for the holiday season

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Connecticut Better Business Bureau says predictions of increased holiday sales over last year, retailers are expecting to hire more seasonal workers, increase hourly pay and turn tens of thousands of seasonal jobs into full-time employment.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts end of year sales to grow as much as 4.5 percent, and according to CareerBuilder, 43 percent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent workers, aside from temporary holiday helpers.

“As the economy goes, so goes the employment picture, and experts say retailers are confident their year-end sales figures will be stronger than last year,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz.

“Brick and mortar stores and online merchants need additional employees to handle customer service, fill orders and ship them. Online shopping has not reduced seasonal employment opportunities. Instead, it has shifted the type of available jobs that internet merchants need to fill.”

This is also the busiest time of year for delivery companies and processing centers with plans to hire tens of thousands of drivers and support staffers.

Despite the popularity of online shopping and a drop in retail hiring in recent years, local businesses are also expected to increase their number of holiday hires. Business owners say they can give consumers something the internet merchants cannot: face-to-face customer service.

Some retailers have increased hourly wages to between 11 and 15 dollars per hour, and another benefit for holiday job seekers is in-store discounts of up to 25 percent.

BBB offer some tips to help steer you towards holiday employment:

Search according to opportunity – Aside from the traditional jobs on store floors and at the cash register, there is a huge demand for customer service representatives, filling backroom orders and getting them processed and shipped.

Check company websites and social media – The retailers need those positions filled and they are advertising them. If you do a quick internet search, you will find abundant opportunities.

Apply to stores where you shop – Retailers prefer applicants who are familiar with the store’s merchandise, culture and layout. That gives you an advantage over other applicants.

Look for jobs that match your skills – Some people enjoy working in the stores at the cash register while others prefer restocking shelves. Keep an open mind. You might find an opportunity you never thought of.

Be flexible – It’s a busy season and full time employees are offered preferred shifts. If you take difficult shifts – it is a positive statement about your work ethic.

Look for signs of employment fraud – Be careful responding to an unsolicited job offer and don’t give out any personal information unless you have a face-to-face meeting and a formal letter of hire in your hand.

There are also opportunities at smaller, local businesses such as florists, banquet facilities, caterers and restaurants. They also take on extra help at this time of year to keep up with the increased demand for their goods and services.

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