Pitney Bowes and UPS are beefing up their workforces ahead of what’s expected to be a doozy of a holiday season.
Pitney Bowes, a global shipping and mailing company that provides technology, logistics, and financial services, said it plans to expand capacity and add thousands of seasonal warehouse associates and drivers to meet e-commerce demand for the peak holiday-shipping season.
At the same time, the company announced a 5.9 percent general rate increase (GRI) for e-commerce services, effective Jan. 2. The GRI applies to standard delivery of parcels weighing one pound or more and standard returns through the Pitney Bowes U.S. domestic network, and cross-border delivery to 207 countries and territories with bundled quoting and compliance services.
Pitney Bowes noted its pricing includes simple, easy to understand rates, with no surprise fees, including no delivery area or residential surcharges.
“We’re announcing our 2022 pricing earlier than ever to put our clients in the best position to anticipate and plan for their logistics spending in 2022,” Patrick Allard, chief revenue officer for global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes, said.
Pitney Bowes said it has been able to maintain competitive prices despite rising labor and transportation costs across the industry and while managing for the impact of Covid-19. The company continues to advance its global logistics services and capacity, investing in enhanced tracking, robotics, automation, new facilities and an expanded owned transportation fleet.
“Pitney Bowes has been building to this point for months, really years, improving our services, expanding our capabilities, and preparing our network, our teams and our clients to meet the challenges of the holiday shopping season,” Gregg Zegras, executive vice president of the company and president of Pitney Bowes global e-commerce, said of planned facility and human expansion.
The company noted it has made a series of network enhancements since peak 2020, including new e-commerce hubs in Boston, Seattle, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio, as well as new automation solutions, including AmbiSort AI-powered robotics for parcel sortation.
Pitney Bowes has also improved tracking and visibility of parcels within its network and accessibility by clients and their consumers, increased use of machine learning and data science to project estimated delivery dates more accurately, and expanded the Pitney Bowes-owned transportation fleet.
The company said it has successfully hired more full-time employees ahead of peak and will be less reliant on seasonal positions for package handling roles, as well as drivers. It has also made investments in hourly wages over the past six months to ensure market competitiveness, including increasing wages for warehouse associates by $3 to $5 per hour for the peak holiday-shipping season. The majority of seasonal employees will have the opportunity to remain with the company beyond peak as Pitney Bowes continues to grow its e-commerce business and seeks a more permanent workforce in 2022 and beyond.
“We’re looking to add and train thousands of new workers interested in earning a competitive wage, having access to a great benefits plan, working in a growth market, and contributing to our mission of making e-commerce logistics easier for our clients and their customers,” Zegras said.
Pitney Bowes has expanded its global e-commerce business significantly in recent years, growing it from a single service and a single client in 2012 to providing fulfillment, delivery, returns and cross-border services to hundreds of retail and marketplace clients today. The business unit generated $1.6 billion in revenue in 2020.
UPS also announced this week that it expects to hire at least 60,000 seasonal employees this Thursday through Saturday, in its annual “UPS Brown Friday” events at company locations across the country.
Nearly a month before Black Friday and Cyber Monday officially kick off the holiday shopping season, the UPS Brown Friday event includes more than 400 local hiring events as well as virtual events on UPSJobs.com/BrownFriday that will support more than 1,200 locations across the U.S. The hiring weekend is part of its broader effort, announced last month, to hire seasonal workers to support its annual holiday shipping rush.
“UPS Brown Friday has become an annual tradition,” chief human resources officer Darrell Ford said. “For tens of thousands of Americans, it’s an opportunity to land one of the country’s best seasonal jobs, with the potential to turn into a career. Many of those who attend one of our job fairs through Saturday will be hired by Monday, and many of those hired will be offered permanent jobs when the holidays are over.”
Full- and part-time seasonal positions–primarily package handlers, drivers, and driver-helpers–have long been an entry point for permanent employment at UPS. Over the last three years, about one-third of those hired by UPS for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired in a permanent position when the holidays were over, and about 138,000 UPS employees–nearly one-third of the company’s U.S. workforce–started in seasonal positions.
UPS is offering current employees $200 for every eligible employee referral they submit. Through the company’s Earn and Learn program, eligible seasonal employees who are students can earn up to $1,300 toward college expenses, in addition to their hourly pay, for three months of continuous employment.