International

In New Zealand, Christmas Jobs Come Early

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Key points:

  1. It’s a bumper year for Christmas jobs. Openings have doubled from last year, although they’re in line with 2015.
  2. Job seekers are active and began searching earlier.
  3. Those who wait may miss out. From here, in past years, postings have fallen steadily until Christmas.

Christmas is still many weeks away, but retailers are already gearing up for the biggest shopping season of the year. Job seekers too—the search is on to find a great job for the Christmas holidays.

New Zealand retailers have enjoyed a terrific year—consumer spending is 6.5% higher than a year ago. That’s created an ideal hiring environment leading into the Christmas holidays. Indeed data show that job postings this year are twice as high as they were last year and retailers are positioning themselves for a bumper spending season.

For many job seekers, part-time and casual work over Christmas is a way to make pocket money between school years. But these jobs, concentrated in retail and hospitality—but in other sectors too—provide crucial work experience and training. Those that perform well may find themselves employed on a more permanent basis.

New Zealand businesses start Christmas recruitment early

Recruitment for Christmas jobs in New Zealand typically begins in August, with job postings normally peaking in October. So far this year, opportunities for Christmas job seekers have about doubled from last year, as job postings have bounced back to their 2015 level. On its face, that’s an impressive swing. But New Zealand is a small country and a small change in the number of Christmas postings can have big impact on our calculations. Even if only a handful of employers step up their hiring plans, we may very well end up with a much bigger number.

Those who believe they can wait until December to find a Christmas job should think again. Last year’s job posting pattern was unusual, but, in November 2014 and 2015, the number of job postings fell by 53% and 27% respectively from the month before. Businesses tend to finalise their Christmas rosters early. Those who wait may be too late!

Employer and job seeker behavior has largely been in sync this holiday season. Job seeker activity picked up around the same time that Christmas jobs began appearing online. So far this year, job searches tracked 55% higher in August, 35% higher in September and 19% higher in October compared with the corresponding month last year.

Who is hiring?

Most Christmas openings are in the retail sector. Nevertheless, because of knockoff effects, other sectors benefit from higher retail spending. As they buy toys and clothes, holiday shoppers also create jobs in hospitality. After all, every shopper needs to eat and rehydrate!

Clothing features heavily among the businesses with the highest number of job openings. At the same time though, farming also has plenty of seasonal openings. New Zealand has a long Christmas holiday season compared with the United States and Britain, which allows for a greater variety of Christmas opportunities.

The retail environment in New Zealand is strong now, and that points toward brisk demand for seasonal workers over the Christmas break. Job seekers who haven’t applied yet haven’t missed the boat. Postings are still high. Nevertheless, the number of openings will decline every day until Christmas. There’s no time to wait to post that resume.

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