Several retailers plan to hire more seasonal staffers than last year in preparation for an incoming flurry of holiday shoppers and expected increase in sales, according to merchants and at least two reports out this month from consulting groups.
While only a handful of retailers have announced specific holiday hiring plans, 36% plan to hire more seasonal employees than in 2011, shows a survey of 14 major U.S. retailers by consulting firm Hay Group; 57% will hire about the same as last year.
Walmart, Toys R Us and Kohl’s are all hiring more holiday workers than last year. The overall increase in hiring is most likely due to a predicted increase in sales, says Maryam Morse, senior principal and retail practice leader at Hay Group. The Hay survey shows 75% of retailers predict an increase in holiday sales over 2011.
Kohl’s will hire more than 52,000 seasonal workers, up more than 10% from last year. Toys R Us will hire 45,000 holiday employees, up about 5,000 from last year, in part to handle company initiatives such as the ability to buy products online but pick them up in a store, says Jennifer Albano, Toys R Us spokeswoman.
But seasonal employment is still below pre-recession levels, says a report released Monday by outsourcing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas.
The firm’s annual hiring forecast, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, says seasonal hiring could add almost 700,000 workers, up from about 660,000 added last year. But holiday employment grew by an average of more than 722,000 jobs each year from 2004 to 2007, the report says.
Still, the hiring rise shows the “low but steady growth” in the economy since the recession ended, says the firm’s CEO, John Challenger.