5 Biggest Takeaways from Our 2018 Seasonal Hiring Survey Results

Liz Dillon


Snag’s 2018 Holiday Hiring Survey results are in, and there’s a lot of great stats worth checking out. We’ve rounded up the five biggest takeaways for you below, along with what each one means for your seasonal recruiting efforts…this year and next!

1. Seasonal recruiting is starting earlier

To get a leg up in a tight labor market, employers are expecting to start their holiday recruitment efforts earlier and earlier. We’ve seen this trend in our survey data the past few years, and we see it play out in our own postings data on Snag. According to this year’s survey data, 2 in 3 employers expect to have already started their seasonal employee recruitment in September. And the number starting in August or earlier more than doubled since 2017.

1 in 4 employers planned to start recruiting in August or earlier…that’s up 146% YOY

2. There’s more competition for seasonal workers

It’s no surprise that it’s getting harder to find seasonal workers. 84% of employers expect to hire seasonal hourly workers this year. That’s a lot of openings at the same time for the same workers. In fact, Employer Competition ranked in the top 3 challenges employers say they face related to seasonal hiring. And it’s getting worse. The number of employers ranking Employer Competition as their top challenge grew 15% YOY.

The number of employers expecting to hire seasonal staff increased 9% over 2017

3. Seasonal positions are getting filled sooner

On top of starting holiday recruitment earlier in the season, employers are also filling those openings sooner. Meaning the longer you wait to start recruiting, the fewer available candidates you have to start from. 58% of employers said they expected to fill all of their seasonal positions by October this year. That’s up 35% over last year. And those fill dates are steadily creeping up earlier and earlier on the calendar. Employers expecting to fill openings by September doubled this year compared to last year.

And that trend seems to be holding true for what actually happens. 1 in 4 employers reported they’d filled all of their seasonal positions by September last year.

58% of employers expect to have all of their seasonal positions filled by October…up 35% YOY

4. Employers plan to offer more…more hours & more pay

To get ahead, employers are starting their seasonal recruitment sooner. They’re also planning to offer more hours and higher wages to seasonal workers this year. In fact, 62% of employers say they’re planning to pay seasonal workers more this year than they did in 2017. And less than a quarter say those increases are specifically due to required minimum wage raises.

Hospitality industry expects to offer the highest hourly wages ($15.30/hour), followed by retail ($13.70/hour) then restaurant ($12.80/hour). For employers today, you’re not just competing with other businesses in your industry. You’re competing with businesses in all of these industries for hourly talent. And what might be a competitive wage for restaurants isn’t enough to attract workers looking for jobs in other industries.

The average hourly wage employers expect to pay seasonal workers went up 32% YOY

5. Screenings vs. speed: you CAN have both

47% of employers expect to get more applicants than last year. With this increased volume—plus the increased need for speed in today’s hyper-competitive landscape—optimizing your screening efficiency has never been more important. But you need to weigh the benefits of screening with the trade-offs.

The longer your job application or hiring process, the more candidate drop-off you risk. 91% of employers report they usually perform background checks on seasonal applicants. 72% say they always do. Consider limiting background checks to the positions where you need them…are there any seasonal positions where an assessment screening could give you the information threshold you need to make a hire?

Lack of Qualified Workers is employers’ #1 seasonal hiring challenge…yet only 44% say they use assessments to pre-screen candidates for fit


Want more 2018 Holiday Hiring Survey insights? Check out the full infographic here!


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