- The tight labor market is driving employers to hire more seasonal workers, recruit them earlier and raise their wages, according to a new Snag survey of 1,000 U.S. companies in the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries. The 2018 Annual Holiday Hiring Survey indicates that employers, especially retailers, expect a robust holiday season and fierce competition for skilled applicants. Also, more employers (84%) anticipate hiring increases this year and 77% plan to offer benefits and perks.
- Hourly wages for seasonal workers is expected to rise by 32%, from $11.70 in 2017 to $15.40 this year. The biggest growth is predicted in retail, with wages rising by 54%, followed by hospitality (51%), and the restaurant industry (33%).
- The number of employers recruiting in August doubled this year over last, reflecting the continued push of the holiday season outside the more typical calendar bounds.
Faced with a record-low unemployment rate (currently at 3.8%) and an expectation to need even more seasonal workers than last year, employers are having to get creative to compete for an increasingly tight pool of holiday applicants. Companies have announced huge holiday hiring numbers; Target said it intends to hire 120,000 seasonal workers, the largest amount so far recorded by Challenger, Gray & Christmas for this year, the firm said — a projection that matched the 2017 goal of Amazon, a company with notoriously optimistic hiring goals.
This year may be one of the first in which the slow transformation of the holiday shopping season becomes explicitly apparent. As the Snag survey states, many began holiday hiring as early as August in an attempt to get ahead of the market. Last year, more employers were hiring customer service and even remote representatives to support a burgeoning e-commerce shopping scene; it's likely such changes will continue into 2018.
To keep up, employers need to strengthen their candidate experience and streamline their onboarding to help workers get off the ground quickly. Preparation for the holiday season rush likely needs to start months beforehand to ensure all systems are ready to handle the influx of new hires.