Christmas jobs market heating up in high summer as seasonal hiring surge starts

Winter may feel an age away but the Christmas jobs market is already heating up, as new data reveals many employers now start their annual fight for festive staff in August.

Analysis by the world’s largest job site, Indeed, highlights that the number of postings for Christmas roles starts to climb rapidly at the end of August, before peaking two months later towards the end of October and beginning of November.

While retailers’ desire to take on extra seasonal staff at the tail end of the year has traditionally been driven by the Christmas rush, the growing importance of November’s Black Friday is now leading many to start their hiring sprees a month earlier.

Retail sales are performing better than expected in 2019, with spending in July up 3.9% on last year. This increase in spending comes as wages grow at their fastest rate in 11 years and despite uncertainty in the overall economy. 

The Christmas party season, which can creep into November, is also fanning this early demand for employees, with the food and beverage industries needing to ensure they are sufficiently staffed in good time.

However, the first sector to ramp up its hiring is transport and logistics – with employers in this field keeping the recruitment tap turned on right through to December in order to get products to warehouses and shops before people can buy them.

Demand for retail workers then far outstrips that for other seasonal staff, soaring to almost nine times its normal level by the start of November.

From an employer perspective, Indeed’s analysis suggests earlier may be better. In 2018, the average number of jobseeker clicks that a Christmas or seasonal job received was highest in late August and in September. However, this does mean candidates could be competing with more people for fewer jobs, unless employers start to advertise earlier.

Christmas jobs advertised on Indeed in August received an average of 20 clicks, while those advertised in September received 26 clicks. In October and November, the average dropped to 16 and 15 clicks respectively.

With the unemployment rate at just 3.8%, its lowest level for nearly four and a half decades, the tight labour market is forcing employers to fight hard for every recruit. This competition could be encouraging many recruiters to start their Christmas hiring push even earlier.

Pawel Adrjan, economist at global job site Indeed, comments:

“We may joke about shops putting up their Christmas displays earlier and earlier every year, but our data suggests August is when employers start ramping up their team for the festive season.

“Planning well ahead of such a busy and important period of the calendar is vital, and the benefits for recruiters are clear – candidate interest is at its highest per job posting in August and September, before the number of advertised jobs swells to its maximum.

“With average pay growing at the fastest rate in 11 years, there will no doubt be swells in consumer demand in the retail, logistics and service sectors, all of which rely on high levels of staff to satisfy the seasonal growth in customers. The peace of mind that comes with getting this recruitment out of the way early must be akin to ticking off all your Christmas shopping before the last-minute rush.”

Author: Editorial Team

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