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Interest in Christmas Jobs Rises Amid Tough Labour Market

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Seasonal hiring ramp-up gathering pace with shift toward retail and driving.

Key points

  • Christmas jobs are seeing higher interest than usual this year, suggesting jobseekers are viewing them as a potential temporary lifeline.
  • The ramp-up in seasonal hiring gathered pace at the start of October.
  • Retail and driving positions make up a greater share of seasonal jobs in 2020.

Seasonal jobs attracting higher interest this year

Amid an increasingly tough labour market, jobseeker interest in seasonal jobs has increased compared with previous years. Christmas jobs posted on Indeed saw higher average interest levels compared with all types of jobs during September than had been the case in the same month in 2018 and 2019. With the exception of August, that mirrored the pattern seen over the summer. Jobseekers may be looking at Christmas jobs as a potential temporary lifeline as job losses mount at a time when vacancies remain way down on pre-crisis levels. 

Christmas hiring ramp-up underway

Postings for Christmas jobs typically start to increase as the summer is drawing to a close. Starting in late August, jobs with words like ‘Christmas’, ‘seasonal’ or ‘Santa’ in the title capture a rising share of all job postings on Indeed. After this initial burst, postings then tend to soar in September and October before reaching a peak in November. This year’s ramp-up appeared to be lagging previous years in September, but there has been a distinct upshift since the start of October and the trend is now broadly in line with 2018 and 2019. 

Shift in composition towards retail and driving

Looking at the composition of seasonal hiring during the month of September this year, we see that retail and driving roles account for increased shares than in 2019, while the share of warehouse roles is broadly flat. The shares of food preparation & service and hospitality & tourism are down on previous years though, with the picture looking grim for these sectors this winter. Many establishments would normally have a packed Christmas party schedule booked in by this time of year, but are instead facing a bleak midwinter thanks to the virus. As a result, there are fewer seasonal opportunities for roles such as chefs, waiters and bar staff. The retail and distribution sectors on the other hand seem set to be busy as usual in the run up to Christmas. 

Methodology

We define Christmas job postings as those with one or more holiday-related terms in the job title, including, but not limited to, ‘holiday’, ‘seasonal’ and ‘Christmas’.