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US Holiday Jobs: What’s In Store This Season

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Indeed Hiring Lab research finds that employers began posting holiday jobs immediately after Labor Day weekend, and postings are on track to outpace that of last year.

Although the holidays are still weeks away many employers have already announced hiring plans to carry them through the busiest shopping season of the year. While not all major retailers are preparing with the typical hiring blitz, there has been a wave of hiring announcements from retailers and logistics companies alike. With Indeed data we can learn how employers and job seekers navigate the holiday hiring season.

Employers posting holiday jobs earlier

To get a better picture of how this holiday hiring season will look we compare the trend in the holiday labor market for 2017 so far with the previous two years. Employers typically begin posting their holiday positions in September.  However, this year it seems that employers aimed to get a jump on the holiday season by posting a high volume of jobs immediately after Labor Day weekend. This is perhaps due to employers looking to be first to the market in light of a tight labor market.  Moreover, if the current trend in the level of 2017 holiday postings continues, the volume of holiday postings as a share of all postings on Indeed will exceed that of the past two years.

A chart titled “Labor Day is the unofficial start of holiday hiring season,” comparing data from 2015, 2016, and 2017. The chart suggests that holiday job postings start as early as September. Caption added post publication.
Holiday job seekers start searching in September

Employers and job seekers are largely in sync around the holiday season. Job seekers begin their searches in September, around when employers are beginning to post jobs. Unlike postings, searches this year look like they may remain in line with past years. Searches for holiday jobs taper off in early to mid November, which is about the time that the level of postings starts its descent as well.

A chart titled “Labor Day is the unofficial start of holiday hiring season,” comparing data from 2015, 2016, and 2017. The chart suggests that holiday job postings start as early as September. Caption added post publication. Caption added post publication.
Top companies for holiday jobs

The companies posting the most seasonal positions on Indeed are some the largest retailers in the US. It is of note that Toys ‘R’ Us is one of the companies at the top of the list considering their recent financial troubles.  

A table titled “Large retailers hiring the most int he holiday season,” showing companies ranked by volume of holiday job postings. Among this list are PetSmart, Toys ‘R’ Us, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Old Navy, Target, Macy’s, AT&T Spring Mobile, Victoria’s Secret, and Famous Footwear. Caption added post publication.
Salaries

Based on salaries listed in Indeed job posting descriptions we can get a sense of how much extra money seasonal workers can earn during the holidays. The table below displays the average hourly wage for several common seasonal positions. While the pay ranges are relatively low, ranging from $11 to $14 an hour, those workers that have enough experience to fill a manager or senior role are in better position.

A table titled “Seasonal wages are relatively low, although experience helps,” showing average hourly wage from August to October 2017. Within this list are: retail assistant manager ($11.44), retail manager ($13.98), retail merchandiser ($12.40), retail sales associate ($11.65), and senior retail sales associate ($13.37). Caption added post publication.

Strong numbers holiday job posting numbers thus far indicate that employers are expecting a busy holiday season. From our data we can see that those workers looking to earn some extra cash were better off to start looking for holiday jobs right after Labor Day, but likely still have ample opportunity to do so.


Methodology

We define holiday job postings as those with one or more holiday-related terms in the job title, including but not limited to holiday, seasonal, and Christmas. Holiday job searches are defined as those containing one or more of the same list of holiday-related terms.

Salary data are gathered from Indeed job postings in August – September 2017 that listed a salary in the job description. The average hourly wage is calculated as the log-average of all salaries posted for that particular job title.