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Seasonal Jobs Taking Longer to Fill

A new survey confirms what indicators have suggested. The tight labor market has employers struggling to find seasonal workers this holiday season, resulting in increased time to fill for open positions.

Source: Julia Stankevych / Getty

The 10th annual Holiday Hiring Survey from hourly job site Snagajob finds 77 percent of employers will face challenges hiring seasonal workers this year, and it will take 14 percent longer to secure seasonal staff than in 2016.

Employers Offering More

As a result, employers are finding new ways to bridge the gap: 35 percent plan to offer current employees more hours to cover open shifts, a third of hiring managers began recruiting for seasonal positions as early as September, and more than a quarter (28 percent) are offering health insurance benefits to seasonal employees.

“In order to attract and retain top talent, employers need to give workers want they want most – hours, schedule flexibility, and stability,” said Peter Harrison, CEO of Snagajob. “With most hourly job seekers able to secure a job in less than a week, it’s clearly a job seeker’s market, and employers must pay close attention to this group’s preferences if they want to staff up adequately for the holidays.”

With one in three job seekers getting hired after submitting only one application, hiring managers are getting creative – 51 percent of this year’s seasonal hires will be rehires from last season, and a majority of employers (93 percent) plans to retain seasonal workers after the holidays are over. Additionally, 91 percent of hiring managers across all industries report they will pay seasonal employees more than the federal minimum wage this year.

About the Search

Other findings from the survey and other Snagajob research include:

  • A majority of employers (89 percent) plans to fill seasonal positions by November, which remains steady year over year. However, given the tight labor market, they recognize it will take longer to fill positions this year. In fact, only 43 percent expect to have positions filled by October, down from 55 percent last year.
  • Likely in response to workers’ demand for more hours, the number of employers offering more than 20 hours a week is up almost 5 percent year over year.
  • 75 percent of hourly workers use mobile devices to search and apply for positions, up from 25 percent in 2012. This year, for the first time, job applications from mobile devices exceed those from desktops and laptops.
  • As in past years, retailers account for the majority of holiday hiring, including a fast growing range of fulfillment center jobs. Snagajob finds that hourly workers are two times more likely to search for retail jobs than other industries.