By Anne Fisher, contributor
FORTUNE -- It's beginning to look a little more like Christmas for jobseekers. Toys R Us will add about 45,000 salespeople, toy demonstrators, and warehouse workers for the holiday season, the company announced a few days ago. Macy's (M) plans to bring on 78,000 people for the holidays, a 4% increase over last year's holiday hiring. Altogether, predicts Chicago outplacement giant Challenger Gray & Christmas, seasonal payrolls will swell by about 620,000 over the next three months.
That doesn't mean all retailers are bringing more hands on deck. Discount Shoe Warehouse (DSW), for instance, saw double-digit sales gains in the quarter ended July 31, but is nevertheless stepping cautiously. Rather than add seasonal workers, the company plans to ask its existing employees to put in more hours.
With such a mixed outlook, applicants are starting their job hunts earlier than usual, says a new poll from hourly-worker job site Snagajob: Almost half (45%) of those hoping for a holiday gig began looking in August and September, while one-third (33%) said they'll start in October.
Applicants off to a late start face stiffer competition this year from those who have held holiday jobs in the past, notes Snagajob CEO Shawn Boyer. The roughly 1,000 managers in the survey said that 53% of their temporary hires "will be people who worked for them in past holiday seasons and are coming back," says Boyer. "That's an eight-point increase over last year."
Even so, casting a wide enough net can boost anyone's chances of landing a seasonal gig.
"Keep in mind that all kinds of businesses, not just retailers, need extra help during the holidays. So try catering companies, restaurants, theatres, delivery services like UPS," Boyer suggests. "Don't forget to ask around among friends and family members." More
With thin staffs and a slowly improving job market, employers can't just let employees take vacation whenever they want, but they also can't risk damaging morale. This summer, a few firms are getting creative. By Katherine Reynolds LewisJul 21, 2011 11:08 AM ET
While it's often less expensive upfront to hire independent contractors, it comes with considerable risks. Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners, describes the challenges.
Interview by Tara Moore, reporter
FORTUNE -- There's a change in the culture of 'work' in America, and the A.D.D., anxiety-ridden professional is faring better than his tenure-tracked counterpart. Yes it's cheaper to hire independent consultants, with no benefits, but companies are now more susceptible to compliance risk.
Gene MOREJun 22, 2011 11:14 AM ET
Temp jobs are in and permanent ones are out, for now. And it doesn't look like there's a surefire route to go from one to the other, posing serious risks to worker morale and corporate growth. By Elizabeth G. OlsonMay 5, 2011 11:05 AM ET
|Much faster Wi-Fi coming soon|
|J.D. Power ranks GM tops in quality for first time|
|Dow sinks 200 points after Fed hints at stimulus easing|
|Chinese billionaire buys 007's yacht maker|
|Fed sets road map for end of stimulus|