Employers may have a tougher time hiring temporary workers this upcoming holiday season as the growth in job postings compared to pre-pandemic outweighs those looking, a new report has found.
Indeed’s holiday hiring trends report released Wednesday said that seasonal postings for this winter are up 28 per cent compared with last year, and up 40 per cent from 2019 levels.
Meanwhile, the proportion of job seekers searching for seasonal work is up 25 per cent compared with last year, but hovering just below pre-pandemic levels.
“The combination of stronger demand for seasonal workers and greater job seeker interest points to a pickup in overall hiring this holiday season, but finding workers will probably be a challenge for some employers,” the report said.
It’s similar to the rest of the labour market, noted Indeed senior economist Brendon Bernard.
“Employers have found it challenging to fill roles across the economy, and I think seasonal hiring is going to be no different this year,” he said.
Employers may need to adjust wages to attract hires, or offer scheduling flexibility, said Bernard.
“For some individual employers, I do think filling those roles is going to be difficult. And so then the question is … what are employers doing to differentiate themselves?”
Holiday recruitment normally starts in September, Indeed said, but this year, holiday job postings ramped up early.
It’s a strong return after two years of dampened pandemic hiring activity, Bernard said.
“This year, we’re seeing a bit more of a return to normal,” said Bernard.
Employers are likely prepping for an expected uptick in foot traffic, he said.
The share of holiday jobs in the overall market is 1.3 per cent, not quite at pre-pandemic levels but better than 2021, Indeed said.
Overall job postings in Canada have been hitting record highs in 2022, signalling a tighter labour market, especially in certain sectors.
Seasonal jobs are concentrated in the retail industry, according to Indeed, such as sales associates and customer service representatives. Around half of this year’s seasonal postings are customer-facing retail positions, the report said.
Retail Council of Canada spokesperson Michelle Wasylyshen said the labour shortage is an ongoing issue in retail.
With major shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day coming up, as well as the Christmas shopping rush, retailers are concerned about being able to ramp up staffing levels, she said.
One thing that Wasylyshen said is contributing to the shortage in retail is that there’s been a reduction in the pool of part-time labour.
“Fewer seniors and youth returned to the workplace throughout the pandemic,” she said.
Stores that aren’t able to meet their hiring demands may have to reduce hours or take other measures to compensate, she said.
Rosa Saba/The Canadian Press