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Holiday Employers Paying More Than Minimum Wage

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CARY — Looking for an extra job this holiday season?

There are plenty of seasonal jobs to go around, and employers are doing everything they can to fill them.

With demand high, and unemployment rates in the Raleigh-Durham area below two percent, stores are offering higher salaries, employee discounts and flexible hours to attract workers.

Sally Wood is among thousands of people in the area taking advantage of the benefits stores such as Target in Cary are offering.

"It puts you in a much nicer position because you can walk into an interview and realize that they need people and they need you," Wood said.

This leaves employers struggling to find holiday help. For example, the Target store that Wood works at needs an extra 100 people for the holidays; 30 jobs are still vacant.

"It's kind of hard to get people, especially core people, to work for us," said Target's Human Resources manager Felicia Lucas.

To attract seasonal employees, discount retailers in the Triangle generally offer between 6 to 8 dollars per hour, 10 percent employee discounts and flexible hours.

Department stores pay a little more: between 6 to 12 dollars per hour, with employee discounts in the 10-to-20 percent range, but less flexible hours.

Graham Spencer, an assistant store manager at Hudson Belk in Cary said the added benefits have helped attract more seasonal workers than the year before, but he still need 15 more people to work.

"Last year was the first year we offered 20 percent across the board for sale or full price merchandise and we're continuing that this year," Spencer said.

A number of these stores also have one day, employee shopping events, where workers can get up to 40 percent off merchandise.

The big downside for holiday shoppers is that if the stores don't get enough holiday help, it will likely mean less customer service during the busiest shopping period of the year.

Several employers interviewed by WRAL-TV 5 said they were still looking for up to a third of their holiday hires.