This year's summer hiring season is expected to be busier than it has been in recent years, according to the sixth annual summer jobs survey commissioned by Snagajob, an hourly employment network. The number of hiring managers planning to hire more summer staff this year is up 10 points from last year (19 percent up from 9 percent), and wages are at their highest level since the survey's inception.
Also, in a positive downward trend, the number of hiring managers who don't plan to make any summer hires is down 14 points compared to last year (from 45 percent to 31 percent).
The findings highlight the hiring plans of more than 1,000 hourly hiring managers with responsibility for summer hiring. The survey, conducted by third-party research firm Ipsos Public Affairs, also found that:
More positions are available, higher wages are expected: Hiring managers expanding their summer payrolls are planning to hire an average of 30 seasonal workers, up from 27 last year. Hourly wages also are expected to increase for the first time in two years to $11.50 — up from $10.90 in 2012.
Teens' prospects are improving: One in three hiring managers (33 percent) believe it will be "easy" for teens to find a job this year — up 4 percentage points since last year and 13 points since 2010. This could be attributed to the lower number of hiring managers who think they will get more applications this summer, a figure that has steadily shrunk from 73 percent in 2009 to just 52 percent this year. Only 5 percent think they will receive fewer applications.
Budget concerns become a bigger issue: About one-third (36 percent) of those not hiring say the decision is budget-related, a figure that is up 9 percentage points over last summer. An equal number of hiring managers (36 percent) said they plan to increase existing staff hours this summer; however, that number is down 11 percentage points from 2012 levels.
"The economy has added jobs for the past four consecutive months, and it appears that hiring managers see that growth continuing into the summer," said Jason Hamilton, vice president of marketing for Snagajob. "Companies that are hiring are expecting to bring on more staff and offer higher wages, so this should be the best summer for hourly workers we've seen in several years."
Similar to past years, the majority of summer hiring will take place in May and April (30 percent and 24 percent, respectively), with 77 percent of all hiring completed by the end of May. Eleven percent expect to hire in March and a like number in June.
Restaurant job seeker social media habits
Furthermore, Snagajob examined restaurant job seekers' social media habits. According to the survey, social media is becoming a more popular tool for job seekers, but few are looking for restaurants directly on sites such as Facebook to identify opportunities.
Nearly half of all respondents said they use social networking sites in their job search (46 percent), and of those, 39 percent admitted searching for a job is their primary activity when online. But how they're using social media to find jobs might be a surprise:
While 42 percent have visited a social media page for a job site, only 18 percent visited a restaurant's page.
"It's no surprise more people are incorporating social media into their job search," Hamilton said. "But the telling trend is how infrequently job seekers are visiting employers' social media pages to find jobs. Cracking the social media puzzle can take considerable resources, and as this survey shows, many businesses might be better served partnering with job sites when it comes to social media recruiting."
Job seekers also report learning about opportunities through recommendations from shared connections (24 percent) or by following a shared connection's job search (19 percent).
Job seekers' time online is not in vain — more than two-thirds have applied for a job they learned about through social networking websites (68 percent). Thirty-one percent who have used social networking in their job search have been called for an interview, and 16 percent have been hired for a job.
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