The majority of consumers aren’t thinking ahead to the holidays yet, but retailers sure are. Though it’s still September, many businesses are already ramping up seasonal hiring initiatives to add to the nearly 25 million people employed by our industry.
According to NRF data derived by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retailers hired over 453,000 seasonal employees last year – far more than the 231,000 they brought in during the 2008 financial crisis.
What do the cards hold for 2010? NRF doesn’t forecast holiday hiring, but earlier this week the folks at Challenger, Gray & Christmas released their holiday hiring expectations, saying that retailers will likely hire more seasonal employees this year than last but that numbers won’t reach levels we saw in 2006 or 2007.
Some companies have already put out their “now hiring” signs. Macy’s announced that it plans to bring in 65,000 seasonal employees, a slight increase from previous years. Jo-Ann Stores, Walmart, Toys “R” Us and Spirit have all publicly acknowledged that they’ve begun hiring for the holidays as well.
Retailers’ holiday hiring plans are never taken lightly, and determining how many employees to bring in for the season is one difficult balancing act. On the one hand, retailers want to have sufficient staff to restock shelves, run cash registers, and assist customers – and they want to get those people hired before the holiday rush begins (note to job-hunters: waiting until after Thanksgiving to apply for one of these seasonal positions isn’t the best idea). However, companies also want to ensure they’re not over-staffed for the holiday season, which could cut into profits.