Survey: Most retailers plan to hire same or fewer number of holiday workers compared with last year

Chicago In anticipation of the holidays, retailers are beginning their holiday hiring process and most are hiring the same, if not fewer workers this year, compared with last year, according to a survey by Aon Consulting.

Aon Consulting surveyed more than 100 of the nation’s leading retailers and found that 44% are hiring fewer holiday workers this year than they did last year, while 37% are hiring the same amount of workers as they did during the 2008 holiday season. Conversely, 19% plan to hire more workers for the holidays this year compared with last year.

“While the economy is showing some signs of recovery, key indicators, such as the unemployment rate, give retailers good reason to proceed with caution,” said Bob Lopes, executive VP with Aon Consulting. “That said, there are a number of jobs available for those who can demonstrate the right skills and are willing to work the hours needed.”

The most important qualities retailers are looking for in candidates this holiday season include customer service skills (83%), a positive attitude (60%) and availability (55%). Meanwhile, retailers say the best candidates come from employee referrals (70%), followed by walk-ins (57%).

This Aon Consulting survey also revealed that 77% of retailers are hiring a greater percentage of part-time employees this holiday season compared with last. In addition, 43% of retailers are planning to convert the same number of part-time seasonal employees to full-time status after the holidays as they did last year, while 42% say they will move fewer part-time seasonal workers to full-time status after the 2009 holiday season.