Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Santa job postings snowball as seasonal hiring ramps up

Santa Claus is finally back in town, with job postings for Christmas roles bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels.

  • Seasonal Santa job postings and searches rise as festive spirit finally returns post-pandemic
  • But employers face a struggle to hire seasonal workers in time for Christmas as overall seasonal searches lag
  • Retail and sales roles dominate seasonal hiring mix, with Iceland, TJX Companies and Boots showing most Christmas job postings 

Santa Claus is finally back in town, with job postings for Christmas roles bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Data from the leading hiring platform Indeed shows job postings for seasonal Santa jobs up 183% on 2021 and 49% ahead of where they were in 2019. And Santa needs his little helpers, postings for Elf roles are 96% higher than the same time last year. 

The sharp increase comes as employers begin ramping up hiring ahead of the festive period and prepare for the first “normal” Christmas in three years as COVID worries ease. 

Yet despite the spike in Santa and Elf roles, overall postings for seasonal roles are pacing behind where they were this time last year. As of 14 October 2022, seasonal job postings were 31% below the same day in 2021, perhaps suggesting some caution from businesses around how much additional staff they can support. 

Early signs of looming hiring issues

Amid the tightest UK labour market on record, there are also indications that employers may continue to find it challenging to hire all the seasonal help they need. Overall seasonal searches are down from pre-pandemic levels: 19% from 2019 and 26% from 2018. 

However, seasonal cheer can be found in the increased interest in specific jobs. Indeed data shows a significant rise in interest in Santa roles, with searches up 121% from 2021 and 10% ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

Retail recovery helping to drive seasonal hiring 

Retail and sales jobs, which took a big hit during the height of the pandemic as in-store footfall was severely curtailed, are pacing strongly this year with the share of seasonal roles in the sales category at 36% and retail at 33%. 

Retail is also the sector that has bounced back strongest since the pandemic, with job postings increasing by 125% compared to February 2020, followed by logistics & stocking where postings have also more than doubled (121%). 

The Christmas shopping spree is also creating roles in other parts of the economy: shares of seasonal jobs in the driving, food preparation & service and loading & stocking categories are similar to last year and close to pre-pandemic levels.  

Top Christmas hirers include supermarkets, cosmetics, toys, clothing and jewellery stores, as well as suppliers of grottos.

Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at the leading hiring platform Indeed, said:

“Christmas hiring is well underway. The sharp rise in interest in Santa and Elf roles perhaps reflects some combination of easing COVID worries and rising cost-of-living pressures, prompting more people to look for seasonal work. 

“However, filling vacancies could prove challenging in an incredibly tight labour market, with jobseeker interest yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Encouragingly, sectors which typically offer numerous seasonal jobs, like retail, logistics and hospitality, have been hiring in large volumes for the past 18-months since reopening. 

“Continued cost-of-living pressures could prompt more people to look for seasonal work over the winter, but it remains to be seen how much of an effect this has on hiring conditions.”