This season is the best in a long time for those looking for holiday jobs -- with improved prospects for pay, perks and a path to full-time work.
Holiday job hunters, here’s good news: Job seekers are in the driver’s seat this year.
“Competition to hire workers is hot this year,” says Snagajob’s new holiday hiring report, for which it surveyed about 1,000 hourly employers.
The National Retail Federation says retailers are hoping to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal employees — about the same as last year. Additional holiday jobs are available in transportation, manufacturing and fulfillment.
What’s different is that more Americans have full-time jobs now, and so fewer will be seeking holiday work. So, if you are looking, you will be able to score better pay and more hours.
- More jobs: 90 percent of employers say they’ll hire for the holidays — up 10 percent over 2015.
- More hours: Employers say they’ll offer workers 27 hours a week, on average — up 17 percent over 2015.
- Higher pay: Employers say they’re paying higher wages; the biggest pay increases are in retail — from an average of $9.70 an hour in 2015 to $13.90 in 2016.
Here are nine ways applicants can parlay new clout into cash:
1. Start job-shopping right now
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Jump on it. Nervous hiring managers are “more determined to lock in their workers earlier” this year, writes the Associated Press.
As your mother probably told you, “The early bird gets the worm.” In other words, you’ll have more jobs to choose from if you start early, and you could find yourself in a position of strength when negotiating with employers who are anxious to hire quickly.
2. Make plenty of applications
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Job-shopping, especially for seasonal positions, is a numbers game. You’ll play it best if you blanket the town with your application. Making many applications gives you a better shot at a job you want and a better shot at scoring multiple offers. That helps you be the one making choices instead of being forced to take what you are offered.
3. Consider transportation and warehouse work
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This year, because of an increase in online shopping, demand is strong for workers in transportation and warehouse jobs. Even if you aren’t suited for a job that requires driving or heavy lifting, check out these sectors. Other skills also are required to keep these operations in business.
4. Don’t stop at the first offer
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After you get a job offer, wait a few days if you can. Keep on with your search full steam ahead. Continue submitting applications, see what other offers come in and weigh them against each other.
5. Look for better pay
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With the competition on your side this year (depending on where you are looking for work), you may command a better hourly rate than in years past.
Speed Commerce, a company hiring 450 workers for its warehouses and call centers, is raising its pay by 20 to 25 percent in places like Ohio, where it’s hard to find workers, according to the AP. Toys R Us, too, is boosting hourly pay rates in high-demand regions.
When inquiring about pay, ask also the rates offered for working overtime and on holidays. Some employers may be competing for workers by bumping up pay in these areas.
6. Compare perks
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Money shouldn’t be absolutely everything in your decision. In many situations, better hours, flexibility, the option to work from home, company day care, access to a health plan and other perks can also be enticing. The AP reports that employers are offering more perks to lure holiday employees into their jobs. Among them:
- Flexible schedules
- Employee discounts
- After-hours events for workers
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Negotiating scares some job applicants initially, but it excites and empowers many once they get the hang of it.
Since job applicants may have more clout this year, consider responding to an offer graciously and tactfully, by countering the offer with a request for slightly higher pay or higher overtime pay. If more money’s not on the table, then request better hours or an assignment you’d prefer. The key is to make reasonable — not outrageous or demanding — requests and, if you have other job offers, bolstering your requests by saying that other employers also are trying to hire you.
Here are 13 tips on succeeding at negotiating, (Hint: There are no “winners.” A successful negotiation makes both parties feel they’ve succeeded in getting important concessions.)
8. Get a foot in the door
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Snagajob’s survey says that 86 percent of employers this year say they’re likely to bring temporary workers into full-time jobs after the holidays.
UPS, for example, says it is hiring about 95,000 full- and part-time seasonal employees and expects to move many of them into permanent positions later. About 37 percent of workers who fill seasonal positions, in such jobs as package handler, driver and driver-helper, are hired on permanently every year. CEO David Abney began his UPS career loading trucks at night part-time while attending college.
9. Apply out of town
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To learn where the demand for job applicants is greatest, follow the business news, scrutinize out-of-town job postings and keep your ear to the ground. Demand — and pay — may be stronger in nearby cities.
Accepting a job farther from home could of course mean a longer commute or bunking with a friends or relatives for a time. But, depending on what’s available and your own situation, the money might make it worthwhile.
Keep in mind that many holiday jobs lead to full-time jobs, so a short-term job outside town may you give you the opportunity you’ve been looking for to move permanently into better pay, a new career and new surroundings.
What are your plans for the holiday? Work more or play more? Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.