- In September, 2.3% of Australian job postings mentioned Christmas keywords in their job titles, compared to 1.8% in the same month last year.
- Growing demand for Christmas workers, however, hasn’t been matched by jobseeker activity. Searches for Christmas jobs are lagging behind earlier years.
- Around 84% of Christmas jobs are in the retail sector, with major clothing and jewelry brands, such as Cotton On Group and Hanes Brands, leading the way.
In Australia, hiring for holiday jobs typically begins in August, ramping up throughout September and peaking in October, with businesses finalising recruitment and schedules well before the Christmas holidays.
Job postings for Christmas opportunities this year have outpaced last year, a sign that retailers are optimistic leading into their busiest time of year. However, recruitment this year will be challenging with the Australian labour market incredibly tight and Christmas jobs receiving lower than normal interest from jobseekers.
Overall, the retail sector has enjoyed a successful year. Spending has increased by 9.1% since December last year, only partly driven by rising prices, with spending at department stores and cafes & restaurants up 26% and 24%, respectively. Even though consumer confidence has plunged in recent months, owing to rising interest rates, retailers clearly have reason to be optimistic.
Christmas recruitment ramps up throughout August and September
The Australian labour market has been strong throughout 2022, with the unemployment rate falling to just 3.5% and job vacancies continuing to rise. That strength is reflected in the demand for Christmas workers.
In September, job postings featuring Christmas keywords in their title accounted for 2.3% of all postings on Indeed, compared to 1.8% of postings in the same month last year. Australian employers started advertising earlier than usual, with postings ramping up faster throughout August than in previous years. That might reflect concerns from businesses about missing out on talent in a very tight labour market.
The fact that the Christmas jobs share is tracking ahead of last year’s pace is particularly impressive when you consider that the overall number of postings is 46% larger than it was at the same time last year. That means that Christmas jobs this year account for a larger share of a much bigger pie.
Nevertheless, the gap between this year and last year has closed considerably throughout September, suggesting that the Christmas postings share could peak lower, as a share of total postings, than last year.
In the past two years, Christmas recruitment has peaked in the first half of October before gradually declining in the lead-up to Christmas. Jobseekers who apply early can lock in a Christmas gig months in advance.
Search activity has fallen short of last year
In recent years, Christmas job searches have typically peaked a little later than job postings. Last year, Christmas searches peaked towards the end of November, compared with the early October peak for job postings.
So far, Christmas job searches are tracking behind the past few years. In September, around 0.8% of searches on Indeed were for Christmas jobs, down from 0.9% over the same period last year.
The dynamics in the Christmas jobs market reflects the overall labour market. We have a combination of increased demand for talent, appearing on Indeed earlier than normal, with no matching increase in jobseeker interest. That suggests that there will be plenty of Christmas jobs to go around and jobseekers can be a little more selective about the roles they accept.
Who is hiring?
Around 82% of Christmas roles in August and September were in the retail sector. Nevertheless, the retail frenzy can spillover into other parts of the economy. A day-long shopping spree isn’t possible without refreshments, creating food service roles, while holiday travel creates opportunities in hospitality. And all those toys and clothes don’t magically appear on shelves. Instead, they must be transported from warehouses, creating jobs in transport and logistics.
Among top Christmas employers, major clothing brands and jewelers rank highly. The biggest Christmas employers tend to be similar from year-to-year.
Christmas hiring this year reflects the broader labour market dynamics that we’ve observed throughout 2022. There is no shortage of opportunities across the country, concentrated in the retail sector, but there may be a shortage of available candidates. Christmas job postings have been strong throughout August and September but job searches for these types of roles have lagged earlier years. That is concerning for Australian retailers as they gear up for their busiest time of year.
We define Christmas job postings as those with one or more holiday-themed terms in the job title, including, but not limited to, ‘Christmas’, ‘Xmas’ and ‘holiday’. Seasonal job searches are defined as those containing one or more of the same list of holiday-related terms.