Employers grappling with record low unemployment continue to turn to summer workers to help their businesses meet seasonal demand, changing the concept of a what a summer job is in the process.
According to CareerBuilder’s annual summer hiring survey, 41 percent of employers are planning to hire seasonal summer staff, similar to last year’s findings and up substantially from 29 percent in 2016.
The steady demand for summer workers in a tight labor market has heated up competition between employers this year, and workers are seeing the benefits in their paychecks. This summer, 87 percent of those employers say they’ll be paying $10 or more per hour on average – up from 79 percent last year. On top of that, 25 percent plan to pay summer hires $15 per hour on average, more than double the federal minimum wage ($7.25).
The types of jobs available
Workers often associate summer jobs with roles that don’t require extensive training—often outside in the summer sun—and don’t often prepare you for long-term career goals. While that can be the case for job seekers simply looking for short-term employment to earn a summer salary, it’s not the only option.
Many summer positions are available in offices or other corporate settings. Employers are hiring seasonal workers for a variety of business areas, including:
- Customer Service: 25 percent
- IT: 25 percent
- Office Support: 25 percent
- Engineering: 18 percent
- Manufacturing: 16 percent
- Sales: 15 percent
Who they’re looking for
Summer jobs have traditionally been dominated by high schoolers and college students, and that remains true this year, with nearly 3 out of 4 employers (73 percent) planning to recruit college students for their summer hiring. This focus on college students may the advanced business needs companies are seeking to address with summer hiring, as well as the broadening responsibilities they are giving summer hires. Employers want competent employees who can strengthen the business.
While college students are the primary target for recruiters, two other groups are benefitting from summer hiring: high school students and retirees. Approximately one quarter of companies hiring for summer positions say they plan to recruit retirees, and 41 percent are looking to hire veterans – further suggesting that experience and an ability to hit the ground running are key traits for summer employees. Yet, many employers are looking at the other end of the spectrum for seasonal help: 39 percent of surveyed employers intend to recruit high school students. While that may seem counterintuitive at first glance, it could reflect a growing desire to attract workers who don’t need to un-learn workplace habits and who might grow up with brand loyalty, making them eager and qualified to work for the company after summer passes.
In fact, the vast majority (88 percent) of employers hiring this summer say they expect to transition some of their seasonal staff to permanent roles. In a tight labor market, this is a sound strategy that can give one businesses an advantage over the competition. Sourcing and onboarding a new hire—even if it’s just for a temporary position—comes with a significant cost and can take weeks or even months. When businesses retain seasonal workers, they keep talent that already knows their business, save recruitment costs, avoid having open positions, and prevent a qualified worker they spent all summer training from going to the competition.
Regardless of the industry, employers should keep these summer hiring trends in mind when developing both long term and short term hiring strategies. It’s a job seeker’s market and businesses don’t have the luxury of wasting time or money being short-sighted.
Planning on hiring some summer workers this year? Check out these five tips for hiring seasonal summer employees.