United Parcel Service told CNBC it aims to hire 12,000 delivery drivers to handle what is expected to be the biggest vacation spike ever for e-commerce.
This year, nearly $ 212 billion in online vacation spending is forecast by eMarketer, or more than 18% of total vacation sales estimated at nearly $ 1.15 trillion.
To learn how to handle all of these deliveries, all UPS driver candidates in the United States take an intensive one-week training course at one of 10 locations.
CNBC got an exclusive preview of downtown Menlo Park, Calif., In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, widely considered the start of the holiday shopping season.
UPS training includes: driving in a model of a neighborhood, transporting boxes on a machine that simulates a sidewalk or slippery ground, making a 90 second delivery and other tricks of the trade.
UPS head coach Tristan Christensen told CNBC that about 20% of applicants pass the program she designed to make drivers efficient and their deliveries profitable.
“They are essential workers and they are essential for us to remain profitable,” Christensen said. “I don’t necessarily talk to a driver about the overall profitability of the business. But these methods that are taught to them, this efficiency that we integrate, I think they understand.”
During peak holidays, UPS increases its routes by 25%, and a driver can make up to 200 stops per day, an increase of about 33% from the daily average.
“I saw myself being scared sometimes,” pilot candidate Fernando Su told CNBC. “Having that kind of training – being here and learning all these things firsthand, before you go there – it really takes my mind off. Su added that it makes him ‘a little more comfortable for going out there doing it on my own and trusting myself that I will be able to do it. “
Competition for the best drivers is intense in today’s job market. Amazon and FedEx are looking to hire 125,000 and 90,000 seasonal workers, respectively.
UPS, which in September announced plans to hire a total of 100,000 seasonal workers, told CNBC that 30% of those workers are moving to full-time jobs.
Christensen, who started as a seasonal employee, said she believes the opportunity for a career at UPS makes the company increasingly competitive. “The work climate is tense. We need to make UPS attractive and attractive to people. Providing a career opportunity for people who have been disrupted or displaced from their previous job, I think that makes UPS very appealing. “