Seasonal Hiring Steady for 2015 Holiday Season, but is Pay Spiraling Downward?


This time of year always sees an increase in hiring additional people to cover the busy holiday season, at least on a temporary basis. It can be a good time to earn a little extra cash for gifts and starting the New Year right by paying off debts. But, a recent survey indicated that while employers expect to hire a similar number of seasonal workers, the pay rates for these temporary employees may be decreasing.

Pay Trends for Seasonal Workers

The 8th Annual Holiday Hiring Survey, published by Snagajob, a leading hourly job portal, revealed some surprising findings concerning pay for seasonal workers. They surveyed more than 1,000 US employers to highlight 2015 seasonal hiring trends, including:

  • 82 percent of hiring managers were planning to hire seasonal workers for this holiday season
  • Average expected pay or holiday employees is $15.37 per hour, which is down from $17.50 in 2014
  • 67 percent of the seasonal hires will be rehired from last year’s crop of temporary workers
  • Seasonal wages for retail, restaurant, and hospitality jobs are down by 5 percent from 2014

What’s going on?

You’ll note that from this survey, seasonal hourly pay is down significantly from 2014, and for a number of reasons.

Employers are hesitant to raise wages to attract seasonal talent, instead they are highlighting their company cultures and growth opportunities. This can be a positive way to bring on a percentage of seasonal help as permanent employees once the holiday season is completed. The survey mentioned that, “companies expecting to hire seasonal workers plan to keep 68 percent of those workers on staff after the holidays.”

Employers who offer seasonal jobs are hiring the same amount of people, but they are reducing weekly work hours (from 25 hours/week in 2014 to 23 hours/week in 2015). Seasonal employees may find it difficult to get the shifts and the amount of hours they want. Additionally, there are pay inequalities, because some seasonal worker wages are much lower.

Another possible concern for employers is compliance with Affordable Care Act rules that mandate health insurance coverage for employees working 30 or more hours per week. The burden of paying for health insurance premiums affects the staffing budget. To offset low wages, employers often turn to seasonal worker incentives and bonus programs based on worker performance.

While seasonal hiring remains steady for 2015, hourly wages are disappointing at best.

What do you think?

If your company hires seasonal workers, are they earning the same pay as perm employees? How many seasonal workers will you retain after the holidays this year? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!

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