The holiday season is fast approaching and retailers are gearing up.
It's usually a time for seasonal workers to find a job, but now more companies say they're also hiring workers.
A recent survey of retailers by the consulting firm Hay Group found people have a better chance of finding permanent work this holiday season. In fact, 43 percent of the retailers surveyed said they are looking to hire more permanent employees and fewer seasonal workers.
The survey indicates companies are optimistic about consumer confidence even after the holiday season.
"For retailers, I mean the jobs increase by 50 percent or more," Amy McGeorge, CEO of Talagy, said of work during the holiday season. "So it's not only the people in the retail stores, but it's also people in their call centers, it's people who are in their distribution centers. So there are jobs all throughout the chain. We have one client that just does websites for retailers, and they go up 70 percent during the holiday season."
According to the survey, retailers say they're looking to hire the same number of seasonal employees, if not more than last year. About 57 percent said they'd hire the same number of extra employees and about 36 percent will be hiring more.
That's a big improvement from last year, when only 10 percent of retailers said they'd be hiring more seasonal workers than the year before.
Online shopping is a big factor. Thinking beyond the handful of jobs in each actual store, retailers need more workers in their call and shipping centers over the holidays.
"Stores will definitely hire more over the holidays, but if you think about it, there are only a handful of jobs in a retail store, and so you have to think about the whole chain behind the retailer, behind the product, and services that support retailers," McGeorge said. "They all go up during the holidays as well, and there are more jobs in those areas."
Even more promising is the 43 percent of retailers surveyed that are looking to hire more permanent workers.
"Seasonal jobs can turn into permanent jobs, so they're great," McGeorge said. "If you're unemployed, it's a great way to show an employer how good you are. So when you take a seasonal job, take it as an opportunity to prove yourself, and lots of times those turn into permanent opportunities."
The survey asked 14 major retailers, including Ann Inc., Chico's and Hot Topic, about their plans. Staffing experts say people looking for work should start applying now for seasonal jobs and make sure everyone they know is aware they are looking, because networking can often secure a position.