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Annual Snagajob seasonal hiring survey shows the best holiday job market in five years

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Increased hiring driven by strong sales forecast

It’s already shaping up to be a happy holiday for job seekers looking for a seasonal job,  according to the fifth-annual survey commissioned by Snagajob, America’s largest hourly employment network. The 2012 forecast indicates that more seasonal jobs will be available this year than have been expected in any previous season in the study’s five-year history.

There are multiple data points of good news from the survey of more than 1,000 hourly hiring managers with responsibility for seasonal hiring, which was conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs for Snagajob:

- More hiring managers hiring: Among hiring managers with responsibility to hire year-end, seasonal workers for the holiday period, 63 percent will make hires this year, the highest percentage in the Snagajob five-year survey and up 12 percentage points from last year (51 percent).

- Significantly more workers will be hired: Hiring managers, including those not planning to make any hires, expect to hire 6.1 seasonal workers, on average. Comparing similar data from previous years, this is a nearly 50 percent increase over last year’s 4.1 workers and an almost 100 percent improvement from a low point in 2009 (3.1).

- Strength in hiring backed by strong sales expectations: When comparing the hiring managers who expect their fourth-quarter sales to be better than last year with those who expect sales to be worse, the survey shows a net score of +20, indicating an expected sales increase. Last year, positive sales were expected, but only by a +7 margin.

And, as a further indication of how this holiday season should be a return to pre-recessionary levels, hiring managers are expecting to do more temporary hiring than they did in 2007 – a season during which they each recalled hiring 5.6 hourly, seasonal workers (including those who didn’t hire any). [Snagajob does not have any earlier data.]  By contrast, this year’s number is 6.1 hourly, seasonal workers.

“For the past few seasons, we’ve had to talk about ‘incremental improvements’ being expected in holiday hiring,” said Jason Hamilton, vice president of marketing for Snagajob. “But this year, there are strong indications that there should be substantial movement in getting us back to the kinds of holiday hiring levels we were accustomed to prior to the recession. Doing the math, our survey shows that 24 percent more hiring managers are hiring this season, and hiring managers, on average, are planning to hire about 50 percent more people. Those indicators taken together point to a vastly improved seasonal job market.  ”

Prospective applicants will want to begin their job hunt sooner rather than later because holiday hiring is expected to be completed earlier this season. Among those who will be hiring, 57 percent expect to complete their hiring by the end of October – if not sooner – compared to 46 percent last year, an increase of 11 percentage points.

And for job seekers looking for full-time work, odds are better that they will be able to find it this season. Nearly half of seasonal workers (49 percent) are expected to be full-time hires, the highest level recorded in the five-year survey. Added to that, hiring managers who will be making hires expect that 50 percent of their seasonal hires will be able to stay on after the holidays and take a permanent job.

The average hourly pay for a seasonal job is expected to be roughly the same as last year, $10.70 an hour.

Beyond traditional department and retail stores, Snagajob recommends that seasonal job seekers consider shipping companies, craft stores, restaurants, movie theaters, inventory positions, resorts staffing up for winter vacations and tax-preparation companies. Job opportunities can be found at www.snagajob.com.

Holiday Hiring Trends:

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

Hourly hiring managers who WILL hire seasonal workers

63%

51%

50%

47%

43%

51%*

Average number of workers to be hired per hiring manager (includes 0)

6.1

4.1

3.9

3.1

3.7

5.6*

4th quarter sales expectations (net)**

+20

+7

+2

-7

-2

N/A

Full-time/part-time split of seasonal employees

49%/51%

44%/56%

44%/56%

45%/55%

43%/57%

N/A

Average hourly pay for seasonal employees

$10.70

$10.60

$10.60

$10.40

$10.00

N/A

*In the 2008 survey, hiring managers were asked to recall if they hired seasonal workers in 2007 – and how many – to create an initial comparison. The 5.6 figure includes hiring managers who hired “0” workers.

**This is a comparison between hiring managers who said 4th quarter sales will increase vs. decrease. A positive number indicates a sales increase expected.

Survey Methodology: On behalf of Snagajob, Ipsos Public Affairs, a third-party research firm, polled for the fifth-consecutive year a cross-section of 1,099 adult Americans responsible for hiring hourly, seasonal employees.  Sample industries represented included: office/business, customer service, retail, healthcare and restaurants, among others.  The online survey was conducted between Aug. 27 –Sept. 7, 2012. Its results are based on a sample where sampling and weighting are used to ensure that the sample reflects that of the actual American population, according to Census data.  The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error would be larger for other sub-groupings of the survey population.

About Snagajob: Snagajob, America’s largest hourly employment network for job seekers and employers, is the only company to provide both sourcing and talent management solutions to the hourly industry. With more than 35 million registered job seekers and the leading hourly-focused talent management system, Snagajob has been serving hourly workers and those who employ them since 2000. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., Snagajob has been named the No. 1 Best Small Company to Work for in America by the Great Place to Work Institute. To find out more, visit www.snagajob.com and www.snagajob.com/employer-solutions.

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Courtney Moyer is a content producer at Snagajob. When she’s not creating content for employers, she can be found painting anything that stands still, pretending she’s the next Food Network Star, or spending QT with her husband and Abraham Lincoln – the dog, not the president.