Employers Are Expanding Summer Hiring, Surveys Show

Hourly workers say workplace flexibility is top perk they look for

By Roy Maurer May 16, 2017
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​Employers are planning increases in seasonal summer head count, according to two recently released surveys.

Forty-one percent of employers told CareerBuilder that they plan to hire seasonal workers this summer, a significant jump from 29 percent in 2016. The national survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder between February and March and included representative samples of 2,587 full-time employers and 3,420 full-time workers.

In the other survey, 67 percent of 1,000 hiring managers surveyed by hourly jobs marketplace Snagajob, based in Richmond, Va., said they anticipate hiring more summer workers than last year.

Seventy-four percent of employers with hourly jobs available plan to have all positions filled by the end of May, according to the survey.

CareerBuilder reported that 31 percent of employers have already hired their summer staff, and another 34 percent said they typically complete their hiring in May. Twenty percent expect to finish hiring in June, 9 percent in July and another 7 percent in August.

The CareerBuilder survey found that of those who are hiring summer workers, 34 percent are hiring a friend, 30 percent a family member and 19 percent their child.

Other key findings from the CareerBuilder survey include:

  • Larger employers are hiring the most seasonal workers: 45 percent of companies with more than 500 employees are hiring summer staff, whereas 28 percent of businesses with 50 or fewer workers are doing so.
  • Employers in Miami (66 percent), New York City (58 percent), Washington, D.C. (46 percent), and Los Angeles (45 percent) are hiring the most summer employees.
  • More than 3 in 4 employers hiring for the summer (79 percent) will pay their summer hires $10 or more per hour on average—up from 74 percent in 2016. One in 5 employers (19 percent) plan to pay $20 or more per hour.

According to the Snagajob poll, the top on-the-job perk hourly workers look for is a flexible schedule (36 percent), followed by bonuses (27 percent) and benefits separate from health insurance (13 percent).

"These findings are consistent with other trends we're seeing as more and more workers enter the gig economy so they can grab shifts when and where they want," said Peter Harrison, CEO of Snagajob. "At a time when we have near-zero unemployment but still substantial underemployment, employers should consider how they offer increased workforce flexibility to stay ahead of the competition."

Over half of hourly employers (52 percent) told Snagajob they plan to offer their summer workers flexible shift preferences.

Not All Summer Jobs Are Temporary, or Typical

A majority of employers hiring this summer (79 percent) said they will consider some summer hires for permanent positions, according to CareerBuilder.

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, advised employers and employees to approach summer work as something more than just a temporary position. A summer job can be viewed as an extended job interview, she said.

"Like employees, employers shouldn't look at a summer job as a temporary placement. Think of it as a three-month-long working interview. Many seasonal workers will not be candidates for permanent positions, but some of them may be, either now or in the future."

Haefner recommended identifying potential hires early on, keeping close tabs on their performance, and evaluating their fitness for full-time employment at the end of the summer.

And summer jobs are not just confined to lifeguard positions and working at resorts, according to CareerBuilder.

Although summer seasonal jobs are commonly associated with recreational and outdoor work, many employers whose companies are hiring for the summer say they are hiring for a variety of professional and support positions, including roles in engineering (27 percent), IT (27 percent), sales (15 percent) and manufacturing (12 percent).

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