‘Tis the season for temporary work

Despite ever-changing work practices and employment trends, some things stay constant. One such thing is seasonal working, and in the run up to Christmas, totaljobs and Jobsite have recorded 1.6 million applications from candidates looking for seasonal work. This marks an 11% increase year on year, rising from just over 1.4 million for the same period in 2017.

In a similar trend, there has also been a 5% increase in the number of temporary jobs advertised since 2017, and a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2016. Seasonal roles are prominent across hospitality during Christmas party season, while retail, logistics and warehousing also surge order to cope with Christmas shopping, both in-store and online.

Between September 1st and November 23rd, there were 120,000 temporary roles advertised on totaljobs, and with 1.6 million applications made during this period, employers are receiving an average of 14 applications for every temporary role. This is great news for the UK economy, as businesses are able to fill their factories, shops and kitchens with the staff they need this Christmas, in spite of the country nearing full employment.

And for candidates, though there is little under a month until Christmas Day, there are 33,000 temporary roles live on totaljobs as we head into December.

Changing habits


Interestingly, though applications for temporary roles have increased, there were more keyword searches for Christmas jobs last year, with 173,703 keyword searches for “Christmas temp” in 2017, compared to 102,654 in 2018. This decline could suggest a change in jobseeking habits – for example, those who are gig economy workers can be flexible and adapt their shifts as they see fit around this busy time of year, without the need to apply for new seasonal work. However, the aforementioned rise in applications highlights there are still many candidates who are applying for multiple relevant temporary roles, either via search or via our email Job Alerts.

Between October and November, over 300,000 candidates have been active on totaljobs looking for temporary work. 15,000 of these are currently in education, and the jobs they are looking for include temporary positions in warehouses (8,500), customer Service (3,400), in shops (3,000) and also as Delivery Drivers (3,800).

But it’s not just logistics and sales roles, the keyword “Christmas elf” has been searched by 82 candidates since September, and “Christmas tree farmer” has been searched 283 times. With 65 live jobs for a Santa Clauses and elves on totaljobs – there’s certainly Christmas work available.


Totaljobs’ Martin Talbot discussed this on BBC Breakfast, live from the world’s largest mince pie factory.


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