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Report Says Companies Hiring for Seasonal Jobs in Chicago

Posted on November 16, 2010

A new report shows that many companies are currently hiring for seasonal jobs in Chicago.

More than 80 percent of organizations in customer service, consumer industries are hiring the same amount or more workers this holiday season than last year, according to Aon Hewitt, the human capital consulting and outsourcing business of Aon Corporation.

Aon Hewitt surveyed more than 70 leading organizations within the retail, hospitality and quick-serve restaurant industries and found that 55 percent are hiring the same amount of seasonal workers this year compared to last year and 29 percent are hiring more employees. Only 16 percent are bringing on fewer workers.

Specifically, the study found 60 percent of respondents are hiring less than 100 employees companywide this holiday season, and of those organizations, 70 percent indicated this was the same amount as last year. Overall, 12 percent of respondents are hiring between 100 and 1,000 seasonal employees; 12 percent are hiring between 1,000 and 2,500; and 10 percent are hiring between 2,500 and 5,000. Only 5 percent are hiring greater than 5,000 employees companywide.

“These figures show that retailers, fast foods restaurants, hotels and other hospitality-oriented companies are still feeling the affects of the economy and are being cautiously optimistic,” said Patrick Tomlinson, senior vice president with Aon Hewitt. “The good news is most employers are still hiring during the holidays and almost 30 percent of respondents are hiring more employees. While competition in this job market may be tough, there are opportunities for individuals with the right skills and availability to work in these consumer-facing, customer service roles.”

The survey also revealed the top three hiring challenges for local store managers during the seasonal hiring push are: not being satisfied with the quality of hires; time wasted on unqualified candidates; and too much time spent on the hiring process. Therefore, the top three qualities store managers are looking for in job candidates this holiday season include customer service (64 percent), organizational brand fit (26 percent), and reliability (28 percent).

“In today’s workforce and especially during the holiday season, time is a precious commodity, which is why it’s of utmost importance for organizations to have a recruitment strategy in place to hire the best candidates for the job,” said Lisa Bordinat, senior vice president with Aon Hewitt. “Having the right training programs for managers to learn the necessary skills to build a competent, productive workforce, and the proper tools to assess candidates for particular positions can make the difference in customer service, turnover and sales,” she added.

The survey also found:

* 72 percent are not expecting any changes in demographics for seasonal hires this year compared to last year, but 21 percent are anticipating hiring more part-time employees than last year.
* 69 percent of organizations are planning to convert the same amount of seasonal workers to full-time status after the holidays as they did last year; 17 percent will move more to full-time status this year; and 14 percent will convert fewer employees than last year.
* Employers rely on walk-ins and employee referrals over other recruiting sources to hire candidates in this economy.

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