Holiday Hiring Crunch Heightened by Shortened Shopping Season

By Jason Hamilton, Snagajob

Soon it will be the peak time of year for retail sales: the make-or-break, pressure cooker fourth quarter is already upon us. But before the cash register is humming and online orders are coming in just as fast as they can be fulfilled, retailers need to hire their seasonal employees.

According to a recent survey of hourly hiring managers from Snagajob, 12% of managers with plans to hire this year will begin their efforts this month. When it comes to the perfect seasonal employee in 2013, here’s what hiring managers and retailers are looking for in the front-line people who will help boost the bottom line:

Be here when we need you; be flexible. In the past, a positive attitude and previous experience were the top attributes that hourly hiring managers told Snagajob that they desired in a seasonal employee. Now, managers want a potential employee to work the daily schedule they need, the No. 1 attribute 30% of hiring managers say they desire. (Previous experience and a positive attitude are on the hiring managers’ wish list at 28% and 21%, respectively.)  

Work full-time and part-time: For the first time in the six years of the Snagajob survey, hiring managers are looking for more full-time seasonal workers than part-time staff. The survey shows an expected breakdown of seasonal hires that is 53% full-time hires and 47% part-time hires. And whether they come aboard as part-time workers or full-time employees, seasonal hires should have a chance to prove themselves and then join a company permanently; the survey indicates that about half of seasonal hires will become a longer-term investment.

Accept relatively flat pay: The average hourly wage hiring managers will pay a seasonal hire is $10.80 versus last year’s $10.70.

And for the hiring managers who are still wading through seasonal applications, have some hope that it may be a manageable process. About half of the hiring managers polled by Snagajob expect the same number of applications as last year. That said, another 41% of those polled expect to receive even more applications.
Finally, some businesses will lean on current employees to cover the fourth-quarter workload, skipping the application process altogether. Less than one third of hiring managers indicated that they will not make any seasonal hires this year. And of that group, almost half say that they will lean on current staff to pick up extra hours for the holidays.
Whatever your holiday business goals that will put you in the black, act now to get your staff lined up properly. With just 25 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, the right team needs to be ready to take advantage of every shopping hour and customer interaction. Happy hiring.  

As VP of marketing for Snagajob – America’s largest hourly employment network for job seekers and employers – Jason Hamilton keeps track of hourly employment trends and helps hourly employers to recruit, hire and retain a stronger workforce.

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