Snapshot of 2018 Holiday Hiring Trends

November is finally here. Bring on the holiday season!  Decorations are coming out. Sales are already in full force, with hopes of capitalizing on the high levels of consumer confidence (spending is up 4.1 percent from last year). And, it’s (almost) universally acceptable for stores to start playing holiday music. Or is that the day after Thanksgiving?

If you’re like most businesses who look forward to the revenue boost this time of year ushers in, you’ve either already finished bringing seasonal help onboard or have only a few more positions to fill. According to the results of our 2018 Annual Holiday Hiring Survey, employers expected an increase in competition from others in their sector (or from gig work), as well as a lack of either qualified or available workers.

Considering the culmination of these top three challenges, a growing number of companies who traditionally rely on holiday hiring started much earlier this year. A quarter of employers let us know that they planned to start recruiting in August or earlier, which is up from 11% last year. According to this NBC News post, “some brick-and-mortar retailers started their searches to fill holiday slots as early as July.” And, as this post noted, not all of the competition was direct. Some employers were competing with major online retailer efforts to boost warehouse staff in preparation for a busy shipping season as well.

Waging war

If you had to get creative in finding ways to market your temporary positions, you were not alone. Much like when hiring hourly employees for non-seasonal positions, workers have options and expectations. As such, employers have sweetened the pot in hopes of attracting the highest quality talent (learn more about workers’ wants in Snag’s 2018 State of the Hourly Worker report).

The most obvious route—as shown in our survey results and reported in this USA today article—is the increase in wages across the board. The average hourly wage for seasonal workers is projected to climb an average of 32% when compared to 2017. Looking at each employment sector, the expected increase translates to averages of $12.80 in restaurants, $13.70 in retail and $15.30 in hospitality this year.

Bring on the benefits

Beyond wage increases, there’s also an uptick in benefits—something we traditionally don’t see with temporary positions. As this Washington Post article spotlights, some employers are offering interesting perks.

For example, “Kohl’s, which began hiring seasonal employees in July, is providing Thanksgiving Day workers with a turkey dinner and doling out gift cards for perfect attendance during the holidays. Also new this year: a designated shopping day when employees will get 35 percent off all purchases.”

Beyond the turkey dinners or haircuts, Snag found the top three benefits offered to seasonal worker to be time off on national holidays, professional development for workers and paid sick days. NBC’s report also showed some employers contributing to retirement accounts—interesting additions that demonstrate the level of competition when filling short-term, temporary positions.

Want to see more 2018 Holiday Hiring Survey insights? Check out the full infographic here!

 

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