Hiring Outlook Bleak This Christmas Season

Hiring Outlook Bleak This Christmas Season

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The nation’s retailers aren’t expecting a flood of shoppers for the Christmas shopping season which officially begins the day after Thanksgiving. With sales expected to be flat or fall compared to last year, the hiring of seasonal workers will dip too. The employment forecast was gleaned from a survey conducted by Aon Consulting, a human capital consulting firm based in Chicago, and released on Thursday.

Holiday Hiring Trends

Christmas ShoppingAon Consulting surveyed more than one hundred of the nation’s top retailers, discovering that 44% will be hiring fewer holiday workers this year than in 2008, while 37% plan to hire the same amount of workers as they did last year. A small group of retailers, 19%, say that they plan to hire more workers this year than last.

“While the economy is showing some signs of recovery, key indicators, such as the unemployment rate, give retailers good reason to proceed with caution,” said Bob Lopes, executive vice president with Aon Consulting. “That said, there are a number of jobs available for those who can demonstrate the right skills and are willing to work the hours needed.”

Increasing Your Chances

What will it take for candidates to get a job this year? Likely, a number of important skills and personal attributes including: customer service, positive attitude and availability. Seventy percent of the people who do get holiday work have been referred to the retailer usually from store employees while more than half those hired being walk-ins. Figure that some retailers count “walk in referrals” twice, thus the numbers discrepancy.

“According to our survey results, there are a number of qualified candidates who will not find a retail job during this holiday season,” said Lopes. “Those individuals should also consider the travel, hospitality and food service industries. While these industries don’t receive the same type of attention as retail during the holiday season, they typically increase their hiring this time of year.”

Post Holiday Hiring

Holiday hiring sometimes leads to permanent employment which is an important appeal of seasonal work especially in a time of high unemployment. However, the Aon survey revealed that retailers are evenly divided as to whether they’ll be able to keep people on after the holiday season with some expecting to offer full time work while others have no plans to retain Christmas help.

Source: Aon Corporation

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