Benefits and Compensation, Recruiting

Seasonal Hiring Remains Steady, But Paycheck Size Could Increase

Seasonal and permanent workers are expected to take home bigger paychecks in the fourth quarter as the push for better wages and the increased competition for skilled labor remain hot issues for employers.

According to CareerBuilder’s Q4 2016 U.S. Job Forecast, 47% of employers expect to increase pay for seasonal workers in Q4. Of those hiring seasonal employees, 75% will pay $10 or more per hour, up from 72% last year, and nearly three in 10 (28%) expect to pay $16 or more per hour, up from 19% last year.

In terms of full-time, permanent employees, 68% of employers plan to increase salaries for these workers in Q4, with 28% anticipating an average pay increase of 5% or more.

“Overall, permanent and seasonal hiring in the fourth quarter will be on par with last year, with one-third of employers planning to add staff in either category,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation—in a press release. “However, campaigns for a higher minimum wage, paired with a tighter labor market for lower-skill and semi-skill jobs, is giving job seekers more of an edge when it comes to compensation. Wage growth, while still a serious concern, will likely see a lift in the coming months.”

The national study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from August 11 to September 6, 2016 and included a representative sample of 2,379 hiring managers and Human Resources professionals across industries and company sizes.

Retail Hiring in Q4 2016

Seasonal hiring among retailers—arguably the largest industry segment for seasonal employment this time of year—is expected to dip compared to 2015, but will still be sizeable and yield better pay.

Nearly half of retailers (49%) plan to hire seasonal workers in Q4, four percentage points shy of last year (53%). Of those retailers hiring seasonal help, 53% will pay $10 or more per hour—up from 43% in 2015.

Overall Seasonal Hiring in Q4 2016

Looking across industries, one-third of employers (33%) expect to hire seasonal workers in Q4, the same as last year. An increasing number of these employers are viewing seasonal hiring as a means to test-drive candidates for more permanent roles. Sixty-two percent expect to hire some of their seasonal staff for full-time positions, up from 57% last year and a big leap from 42% two years ago.

While a significant number of employers will be increasing staff to meet demands of the busier holiday season, others are focused on wrapping up 2016 or getting ready for the New Year. Companies across industries are hiring seasonal workers for:

  • Customer Service—37%
  • Administrative/Clerical Support—19%
  • Accounting/Finance—16%
  • Inventory Management—16%
  • Shipping and Delivery—16%
  • Technology—15%
  • Marketing—13%
  • Sales (nonretail)—13%
  • Hosting/Greeting—13%

Full-time, Permanent Hiring in Q3 2016

Thirty-eight percent of employers added full-time, permanent headcount in Q3, relatively unchanged from 39% last year. Ten percent decreased headcount, on par with last year, while 50% made no change and 1% was unsure.

Full-time, Permanent Hiring in Q4 2016

Looking ahead, 34% of employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees in Q4, on par with last year. Nine percent expect to reduce staff, similar to 10% last year, while 53% anticipate no change and 4% are unsure.

Permanent and Seasonal Hiring by Region

The West houses the largest percentage of employers planning to hire full-time, permanent staff and seasonal staff in Q4 (39% and 40%, respectively) and experienced the largest year-over-year gain for permanent hiring (6 percentage points).

The Midwest is trailing all regions for both permanent and seasonal hiring at 29% and 27%, respectively. Overall seasonal hiring is expected to hold steady with gains in the Northeast offsetting declines in other regions. Thirty-four percent of employers in the Northeast plan to add seasonal staff in Q4, up from 28% in 2015.

For more information, and to view the full report, click here.