AnnElizabeth Konkel, Indeed Economist, joins Yahoo Finance’s Sibile Marcellus for this week’s Career Control to discuss the outlook on seasonal hiring.
JARED BLIKRE: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live. As retailers focus on the holiday season, labor shortages remain a major challenge. So what's the plan for boosting seasonal hiring? Yahoo Finance's Sibile Marcellus is here with the latest installment of Career Control.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: With the holidays coming up and supply chain issues, many retailers have a lot on their minds. Many parents won't be happy if their kids' favorite toys aren't on store shelves. And what could make matters even worse is if these retailers aren't able to hire all the staff that they need. Indeed is out with some new data about this.
And retailers' sense of urgency is palpable. Now the seasonal job openings, with the word "urgent" in there, have grown tenfold. I want to bring in Indeed economist Annelizabeth Konkel to break this down. Now Annelizabeth, based on your research, how nervous are retailers growing as the holiday season approaches?
ANNELIZABETH KONKEL: So we are noticing at Indeed that employers are certainly trying to hire more urgently. But just like that graphic showed, they are using urgent hiring language in the job description. That can be anything from immediate vacancy, urgent vacancy, start today.
And just the fact that this year, as of October 3rd, 10.2% of seasonal job postings are using urgent hiring language. That's up from just 0.9% last year. And also, certainly elevated when we look at the national-- nationally job posting-- or 2.6% of job postings on Indeed are using that hiring urgent language. So certainly, this year, going into the holiday season, seasonal employers are really feeling the crunch and trying to find those workers right now.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: Is adding the word "urgent" to job postings going to be enough for these companies to bring in that wave of job seekers that they're seeking? And do these job seekers share that same sense of urgency?
ANNELIZABETH KONKEL: So adding that language to a job description can be a signal to job seekers that hey, we really want you, that you're probably going to get potentially a faster callback than an employer that's not using that language. And also, it's a way to compete with other employers who are trying to find the workers that they need.
Now, is that going to necessarily help find workers? Unfortunately, we're not seeing a rebound in job seeker interest in holiday jobs this year. The share of job seeker searches for seasonal work is down 9.2% compared to 2020 and is down 38% when we're comparing to 2019. And so, we're just not seeing that interest.
Now, I will say, kind of a way for employers to sweeten the deal is offer hiring incentives. That can be sign-on bonuses, cash incentives. We are already seeing some employers use that. Right now, 3.2% of seasonal job postings are using those kind of hiring tactics to get people. But that is up compared to last year when it was just 0.6% of seasonal job postings.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: And what are the specific job positions that retailers are trying to fill as quickly as possible? Is there more of a focus on jobs that help with online sales? Or is it more about getting those positions for in-person sales, as the pandemic, we're starting to get a better grasp on it?
ANNELIZABETH KONKEL: So it is certainly a mix this year. We are seeing the jobs mix of seasonal work look a little bit more similar to 2019 than in 2020, which is really indicative of that employers are trying to kind of hedge both ways, that there's going to be some online activity, but also in-person activity. The peak of holiday hiring is early November. That's about eight weeks away, four weeks, you know, that it's difficult to say what the pandemic situation is going to look like then. So I think employers are trying to hedge their bets so that they have staff both in stores, as well as to fill online orders.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: And looking ahead, can retailers really afford to wait for the job seekers to come in? Or are they going to have to boost those cash incentives and signing bonuses?
ANNELIZABETH KONKEL: My advice to employers looking for seasonal workers is to start hiring right now. Start today. Because if job seeker interest does not improve, they are going to be competing for a smaller and smaller basket of available job seekers. And then they may have to increase those hiring incentives, whether that's heftier bonuses, more cash. And so, start today. The time is right now.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: Start today. Annelizabeth Konkel, great to have you on. Thanks so much.