What You Need to Know about Seasonal Hiring in 2020

At this time last year, social distancing, flattening the curve, and having a Zoom cocktail hour were foreign concepts. As the pandemic remains ongoing, our speech patterns and our social patterns have changed. Seasonal hiring has not been immune to the changing nature of how we shop and how we work. Read on to find out everything you need to know about seasonal hiring in 2020. seasonal hiring 2020

Concerns about safety and social distancing, have spurred an increase in online shopping or ordering online for curbside pickup. In response to this shift, seasonal hiring in 2020 has shifted away from employing extra cashiers and customer service reps and moved towards increased hiring in warehouse and distribution centers.

Retail locations that are hiring seasonal workers are also shifting the jobs they are hiring for. A recent Washington Post article, notes that retailers are hiring employees to focus on adherence to health and safety protocols. You will find more jobs with duties that include tasks such as greeting customers and enforcing mask policies, managing customer counts and traffic flow, and cleaning and sanitizing.

Many retail locations were already expanding their services pre-pandemic to include ordering online and picking up in-store or curbside. The pandemic has vastly accelerated the switch to this hybrid online/in-person model. The availability of curbside pickup is also shifting the need away from traditional cashier roles and moving instead to employees pulling orders and running them out to waiting customers.

Another shift in seasonal hiring in 2020 is the timeline. In a recent interview with Andrew Challenger, vice president of recruiting firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, he makes the observation that seasonal hiring is proceeding at a slightly slower pace and can be expected to continue into December. Traditionally, most retailers have finalized their seasonal hiring by early November. Continued uncertainty has led to a more measured approach to hiring as no one can really predict consumer spending or trends at this point. #Because2020.

Now the big question is: what about wages? Despite high levels of unemployment, seasonal job wages have largely increased this year. There are several factors contributing to this increase. One of the reasons being the shift to warehouse jobs that require higher-level skills like forklift driving.

There is also a much smaller candidate pool this year. Seems counterintuitive right? According to AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed, the number of job seekers looking for seasonal work this year is down 38% from last year. As health and safety fears continue and many parents are still having to homeschool, searches for remote and work from home jobs continue to rise. Larger retailers have been able to capitalize on this and shift many customer service jobs to remote positions.

If you have underestimated your staffing needs for the holiday season and suddenly find yourself in a bind, check out our previous blog on How to Hire a lot of Employees Quickly: Seasonal or Otherwise. Already too swamped to go read that blog? Okay. Here’s probably the most relevant tip for 2020. Use video interviews. By now you should know how much we are fans of video interviews. In this age of social distancing, we still use video interviews as our first and sometimes second step interviews even for clients that are hiring for in-person positions.

During these stressful and unpredictable times, now more than ever it is important to keep your employees happy and engaged. We have some Unique Ways for Employers to Show Appreciation during the holiday season. Perhaps the most impactful way we’ve listed is to sponsor a charity drive. If we only learn one thing from 2020, it should be that when it matters most, we need to come together to help each other.

If you need help finding your next great employee but aren’t quite ready to hire a recruiter or you’re a DIY-er, join our new Dream Team Membership. You’ll find resources to help you during every step of the process from writing your job post to onboarding. Plus you’ll have access to our supportive community!