Holiday Hiring Survey Finds Disruption in Hourly Workforce

What can restaurant employers do to gain a competitive edge on holiday hiring?

“It all comes down to the ability to quickly find and hire the right talent,” Snagajob President and CEO Peter Harrison told Modern Restaurant Management magazine. “Seasonal hiring is a numbers game and is all about finding enough quality workers to meet demand and get them onboarded and working quickly.”

Mobile and digital tools to streamline this process can prove to be one key to success, he stressed.

90 percent of workers look for jobs on mobile devices, but only 54 percent of job applications even work on a mobile device.

“Employers need to use mobile if they want to attract workers. We found that 90 percent of workers look for jobs on mobile devices, but only 54 percent of job applications even work on a mobile device, creating major pain points. Making mobile applications super easy to submit and responding to them promptly will help employers stand out.”

Those finding were among the trends noted in Snagajob’s Holiday Hiring report. The data shows how employers intend to hire this year and reveals how the hourly marketplace continues to be disrupted due to the rise of the on-demand economy and ever-evolving legislative landscape pressures such as increasing minimum wage in many jurisdictions, the new overtime pay rule and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Key findings include:

  • 90 percent of employers plan on hiring this holiday season
  • This is up 10 percent from 2015
  • 86 percent of employers are likely to hire their temporary workers after the holidays
  • Employers plans to offer their workers 27 hours per week during the holiday season, up 17 percent from 2014 and and up eight percent from 2015

Expected hourly wages by industry:

  • Retail: $13.90 – up 45 percent from 2015
  • Hospitality: $11.50 – up 5 percent from 2015
  • Food service: $10.60 – up 14 percent from 2015
  • Hourly workers make up 70 percent of America’s workforce, so this data has implications for millions of Americans and their families on both sides of the hiring process.2016_holidayhiring_infographic_employer_version-%283%29-%282%29

“It’s a job seeker’s market right now with a low unemployment rate and a high demand for workers,” said Harrison. “Survey respondents noted that the most common challenges they face during the holidays are shortage of qualified workers, shortage of available workers and growing competition from other employers to snag talent. Flexible hours and higher pay are the top considerations workers take into account when looking at seasonal job opportunities. The best thing an employer can offer besides hours and money is a great culture and work environment. Other perks that help attract talent include a relaxed dress code, growth/educational opportunities, food and transportation vouchers.”

Harrison advocates for smarter hiring as the best practice for restaurant managers, noting how technology can help with that process as well. 

“Too many hires are still made based on a simple in-person interview. All the data points to the need for a smart hiring process. Employers that first screen candidates with an assessment purpose built for the restaurant industry are proven to reduce mis-hires and increase retention. In the past, these assessments caused major drop-off, but a new, mobile-friendly generation build from the ground up allows them to be completed in five minutes or less. This results in less drop-off and can greatly improve quality and fit.”

While the hiring process is changing, restaurant managers should still look to attitude when adding staff, the survey found.

“We found that the most important traits employers look for in a seasonal employee is a positive attitude and eagerness for the job. Even more so than previous experience, a worker’s attitude and approach to the work is critical when determining the best hires. For example, if they are applying for a front-of-house position and they don’t smile in the first 30 seconds of an interview, this should be a big red flag. Looking for these traits – and hiring the right people – will also help with retention.”

Peter Harrison
Peter Harrison

Looking ahead, what factors does Harrison see affecting holiday hiring next year?

“With the new overtime rules and the potential increase in minimum wage, employers are faced with increased costs without an increase in production, all while continuing to absorb the impact of ACA. Some of these costs will be passed on to the customer but some won’t. As a result we expect employers to continue to look for ways to drive greater efficiencies by adopting more technology and optimizing staff utilization. We expect the net result to be a growth in the number of part-time positions but with flat to slightly reduced number of hours.”

For full results of Snagajob’s Holiday Hiring report, click here.