The overwhelming majority (95%) of employers in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality industries are adding more shifts this summer, and more than half (58%) plan to hire more summer workers than last year.

That’s according to the 10th annual Summer Hiring Survey conducted by hourly work platform Snag.

The surge in summer hiring parallels the continued and steady climb of U.S. jobs over the past decade.

Most employers (82%) planned on filling all seasonal summer positions by May this year, up from 71% in 2017.

The survey, conducted in March with 1,000 employers, also showed that more than a third (38%) of employers had already completed their hiring as of the end of April, compared to 27% in 2017.

With record low unemployment at 3.9%, employers are vying to stay competitive, with more companies willing to offer the maximum hourly wage they feel their business can afford (46% in 2018 versus 31% in 2017) rather than the minimum required by law (12% in 2018 versus 18% in 2017).

A result of this is that 74% plan to pay an hourly wage of at least $11, compared to last year when only 53% of employers planned to pay the same or more.

Employers are offering more full-time opportunities, healthcare, and PTO benefits.
While summer hiring is up substantially, with 58% of employers expecting to hire more seasonal employees this year, the pace of growth has decelerated slightly. Last year, 67% of employers expected to hire more seasonal workers.

On average, employers anticipate new hires will make up nearly a quarter (23%) of their summer workforce versus 41% in 2017.

There has also been a surge in interest for on-demand workers, with 81% of employers planning to use on-demand workers within the next 12 months, up from 62% last year and 31% year-over-year.

Recruitment, Retention Strategies

Snag's survey also shows employers are offering more full-time opportunities, healthcare, and PTO benefits. This is consistent with what hourly workers want.

According to the company's State of the Hourly Worker report, more job seekers are focused on full-time work and are looking for jobs with paid time off, health insurance, and 401K packages.

Since 2015, Snag has seen a 43% increase in full-time job searches and a 27% decrease in part-time job searches.

Roughly 25% of summer job applications in 2017 were submitted by Gen Z. To keep up, employers are becoming more mobile friendly.

Nearly one in two employers (43%) are now texting applicants to schedule interviews. Surprisingly, the data reveals a drop (41%) in job posts on social media platforms.

"One has to imagine the privacy issues with social media in the news has had some bearing on the massive decline in social media job posts,” says Peter Harrison, CEO of Snag.

“There's more negative sentiment out there today than there was even 60 days ago.”

Nearly 40% of employers plan to use E-Verify to evaluate summer applicants.
Additionally, the report uncovered an uptick in E-Verify, which confirms the identity and employment eligibility of job applicants. Nearly 40% of employers plan to use E-Verify to evaluate summer applicants, up from 25% last year.

"Given the current political environment and noise around immigration and non-citizenship status, employers are clearly being more cautious," says Harrison.

"Yet, at the same time, we're seeing a decline in background checks and reference checks likely due to employers feeling the pressure to hire more seasonal workers."

Automation Having Little Impact on Hiring

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Even with low unemployment, employers aren't worried about getting enough applications this year. In fact, 60% anticipate getting more summer applicants than last year.
  • Employers anticipate one in five (21%) of their summer workforce will be made up of rehires compared to 26% in 2017.
  • Employers are using mobile or app-based applicant tracking systems more than in the past. Usage increased 167% year-over-year.
  • The majority of employers (90%) use technology and automation to complete certain employee tasks, yet nearly 70% don't expect it will impact the number of summer staff they plan to hire.

    About the survey: The 2018 Snag Summer Hiring Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 managers with responsibilities for hiring hourly workers in retail, restaurant, and hospitality, between March 7 and March 21, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1% percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.