The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The Busy Holiday Season of Employment
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you will be more than aware that Christmas is quickly creeping round the corner. Stores are already decorated with tinsel and fake snow and some people have probably even finished their Christmas shopping by now but, do you know just how much effort is put into making sure there is enough staff at your favourite stores during the holiday season?
Christmas means big business. According to research from Adecco USA, 20% of total retail sales for the year are generated during the holiday season and to keep up, stores hire plenty of temporary staff to meet demand – making for an average of around 50% new hires for the quarter being during this time.
Last year, around 300,000 jobs were generated around Christmas just from within 5 of the biggest retailers in America – including Macy’s, who hired around 83,000 temporary staff to give their staff a 47% boost during the season. And this is just the retail side of Christmas!
What about all the companies who are helping to deliver parcels around the world and from online shopping? It was reported last year that UPS managed to miss some Christmas deliveries due to overwhelming demand.
Despite recruiting over 85,000 extra hires for the holidays, UPS managed to exceed far more than their expected 132 million deliveries in a week. It’s more than likely they’ll not be letting that happen again, so they will surely by hiring even more this year round.
The following infographic from Adecco USA shows even further the extent businesses will go to make sure they have enough staff on during the festive time so we can all buy those last-minute gifts.
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THE MIND-BLOWING SCALE OF HOLIDAY HIRING
Every year, the holiday season triggers an increase in U.S. employment numbers as companies take on more staff to cope with demand.
Here’s a look at how seasonal spending benefits workers and businesses.
THE SIZE OF PEOPLE
Strictly speaking, the “holiday season” is the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To meet the extra demand, organizations that are impacted by the holiday season, such as retailers and delivery companies, begin planning their staff needs in July and August.
Onboarding can begin as early as September.
HOLIDAY HIRES HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE LAST QUARTERLY FIGURES OF THE YEAR.
Total private sector jobs added in the US Q4 2013* – 1,739,600 (*seasonally unadjusted)
Holiday hires by Q4 dependent sectors (2013):
- 684,700 Retail Trade
- 173,100 Transportation & Logistics
- 10,800 Wholesale Trade
Holiday hires make up 50% of the total new hires for the quarter.
MANY COMPANIES, USUALLY RETAILERS, HIRE A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF TEMPORARY WORKERS TO COPE WITH THE HOLIDAY DEMAND.
However for retailers, the employment boost isn’t evenly distributed among industries:
Employment change by industry during the holiday season (2013):
- 4.10% Gift, novelty, and souvenir stores
- 6.73% Furniture and home furnishings store
- 9.41% Sporting goods and stores
- 12.10% Department stores
- 13.36% Clothing and accessories stores
- 34.10% Hobby, toy, and game stores
AROUND 300,000 OF SEASONAL HIRES ARE MADE BY JUST 5 OF THE BIGGEST RETAILERS:
- MACY’S INC. 83,000 +47% STAFF BOOST
- JC PENNY 35,000 +30% STAFF BOOST
- TARGET 70,000 +19% STAFF BOOST
- KOHL’S 53,070 +39% STAFF BOOST
- WALMART 55,000 +4.2% STAFF BOOST
THE SIZE OF SHIPMENT
THE 2013 HOLIDAY SEASON SAW U.S. DELIVERY COMPANIES GEARING UP TO MEET THE DEMAND:
- 73m parcels were shipped in the U.S. in 1 day on December 24th, 2013.
- 96% of them were on time.
NUMBER OF PACKAGES SHIPPED DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON.
- UPS 132 million+ packages – 85,000 extra hires
- FedEx 275 million+ packages – 20,000 extra hires
- US Postal Service 420 million+ packages – 10,000 extra hires
THE SIZE OF SPENDING
AMERICANS LOVE HOLIDAY SHOPPING AND THE ECONOMY LOVES THEM BACK.
- 90%+ of Americans celebrated Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanza in 2013
- ~20% of annual retail sales are generated in the holiday period
- $730 how much the average American spends on holiday gifts, food, and decorations during the holiday period (2013)
- $163 average spend on Mother’s Day
- $75 average spend on Halloween
COMPARE THIS WITH:
- $602 billion total retail spending during the holiday period
- $4.53 trillion total retail spending throughout the year (2013)
…and all this is important because 70% of US economic activity depends on domestic consumer spending.
Holiday hires are crucial for making sure companies maintain a high level of quality customer service throughout the rush of the season.
But these figures also tell a story: they indicate the level of demand companies expect for the period, which in turn can give us a pulse check on the state of the economy.
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