Christmas jobs crisis looms

Employers are bracing themselves for significant staff shortages and a struggle to hire workers for the busy Christmas trading period, according to a survey.

The study, undertaken by jobs website 'Indeed,' found that company postings for seasonal Christmas jobs are only 2% down from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. However, conversely, the number of people looking for seasonal employment is 24% lower than in 2019.

'Indeed' said the likely staff shortages are set to hit the retail and hospitality sectors the most.

The company said the “disconnect” between supply and demand indicates that employers who are looking to scale up for the Christmas season may struggle to fill the desired extra shifts or extended hours to make the most of the seasonal trading period.

'Indeed' said its latest findings are consistent with its broader finding that the urgency to seek a new job is limited amongst workers at present. It said 52% of survey respondents are not open to searching for a new job right now.

The percentage of respondents actively and urgently hunting for a new job, last month, was just 8%.

“The tight labour market was already evident, and now we’re seeing that it may have an impact on the usual seasonal surge in recruitment around Christmas,” said Indeed economist Jack Kennedy.

“Hiring needs are typically acute in the retail and hospitality sectors as they gear up for a much-anticipated increase in business following the challenges of lockdown. Our data indicates that whilst there are plenty of businesses searching for people to fill extra shifts there hasn’t been a commensurate rise in people interested in those opportunities,” he said.

Mr Kennedy said – with inflation now at over 5% and a supply and demand imbalance for work – there is a “cocktail of circumstances” putting workers in a good position to seek pay increases next year.