Is the Anticipated Increase in Holiday Jobs Something to Celebrate?

BlogHer Original Post

To read the headlines last week announcing the projections for holiday hiring, you would have thought that the recession was really over. I know, it technically ended in June 2009, but who pays attention to technicalities when you're out of work? Jon Stewart already took the media to task for the headlines they wrote about his comments on Sanchez at a celebrity fundraiser for autism. (You can see the actual comments starting at around 5:42 in the video below. Directly following that, you'll see the headlines used to describe Stewart's comments.) While the headlines say "Stewart Slams and Rips Rick Sanchez," nothing could be further from the truth. See for yourself.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Hurty Sanchez
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

Just as the media wrote headlines about Stewart and Sanchez that they wanted to believe, they are doing it again in this overly optimistic conclusion about holiday hiring.

Here are some of the headlines:

Bah! Humbug! The headlines are full of optimism and goodwill to man. But if you take the time to read the information in the posts, the headlines have about as much reality as a headline promising that Phoenix will have a White Christmas this year. Such as this quote:

Most retailers plan to hire more workers or the same amount as last year, according to a survey of 20 major U.S. retailers, including J.C. Penney Co., Abercrombie & Fitch Co., and Pier 1.

There's a huge difference in saying that retailers are going on a hiring spree, and the reality that many retailers are going to hire the same number of people they hired last year. Oh, and last year's seasonal hiring was about as festive as a lump of coal.

In 2007, (can we call that the good ol' days?) retailers hired 720,800 holiday workers. Last year, that number plummeted to 501,400. Doing the math, that's a loss of 219,400 jobs.

This year, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a national outsourcing firm, retailers could hire anywhere from 550,000 to 650,000 seasonal workers. Or, another way to look at it, retailers would still be hiring anywhere from 70,800 fewer to up to 170,800 fewer people than in 2007.

MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 28: Estefanny Osorio, electronic department supervisor, restocks the store shelves at the Toys'R'Us store on September 28, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Toys'R'Us announced today it will hire about 45,000 employees to help with the holiday season, a larger number than in previous holiday seasons. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Who's hiring? It looks like top honors goes to Toys 'R Us, which is proportedly hiring 45,000 temporary workers to support tthe 650 new "pop up" stores they're opening. If the projections for holiday jobs ends up on the lower end of the estimate 550,000 up from 501,400 last year, you could say that Toys 'R Us would be solely responsible for the bump in new seasonal jobs.

Experts are saying that the competition is going to be fierce for these holiday jobs -- average pay is set to be around $10.60 an hour. From,

What is going to help you stand out from the competition?

•Apply in person if you can, presenting a friendly, positive, can-do attitude.

•Have previous experience in the industry.

•Be flexible about the shifts you’re willing to work.

•Commit to the entire holiday season, including the post-Christmas rush.

•Show a passion, knowledge or loyalty to the company or products.

Retail jobs not your bag?

Other seasonal job possibilities include shipping companies, photo studios, restaurants, catering companies and even tax preparers. April isn’t all that far away.

Don't like the odds of landing that job? has some suggestions on how to create your own holiday job. AOL also offers some holiday hunting advice that makes my teeth hurt. In a piece titled "Searching for a Seasonal Job? Six Ways To Stand Out," AOL manages to trivialize the entire job hunting experience.

People looking for seasonal work need more than the type of generic advice AOL is offering. Their advice of "do your homework" and "stay reasonable" is about as desirable as receiving a chia pet for a Christmas gift.

Let's give people advice they can really use. If you are hiring this season, what are you looking for in your applicants? And, if you are looking for seasonal work, what are your strategies?

BlogHer Contributing Editor: Business & Career


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