Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

13th Dec, 2023

Victoria Sartain
Victoria Sartain
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

Festive celebrations come at a high price these days, and it’s become the norm for many to boost their income in the run up to Christmas with temporary work, often in hospitality and retail. Yet opportunities are falling short of pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest Bloomberg UK and Reed Jobs Report data, which indicates seasonal job listings in England were down 40% in October, traditionally the busiest month for Christmas hiring. 

This couldn’t come at a worse time for those struggling to pay household bills and meet the financial demands of the holiday season, and foretells of continued economic difficulties ahead, shaped by uncertainty. 

Anxiety during these less than prosperous times, coupled with whatever the general election might bring next year, suggests tough times for businesses and jobseekers. And while there are no obvious signs of businesses downsizing just yet, employers do seem to be pressing pause on hiring – this is certainly true, for other reasons, for tech companies in terms of AI-related recruitment

Jobseekers are no longer in the strong position they once were to demand inflated salaries, and we are now looking at a more balanced jobs market, with businesses tightening the reins on their outgoings, potentially until they can see firmer ground. 

James Reed, Chairman and CEO of Reed, said: “Looking ahead to 2024, we anticipate this trend of an employer-led market to persist, with a sustained focus on strategic hiring decisions and talent acquisition. 

“The decrease in seasonal job postings for Christmas can likely be attributed to ongoing economic challenges and employers adopting more conservative hiring stances,” he added. 

The demand for seasonal workers varies around the country, however, with some cities in the Midlands and south of England faring better for opportunities than those elsewhere. Largely, online shopping has, in James’ words, “softened the demand for in-store staff”, leaving temporary jobseekers with fewer options. 

There seems to be two very different stories being told at the moment by government and economists: one of prosperity and growth just around the corner, and another hinting at recession and stagnation. While the Bank of England may be pleased about the current slowdown in festive spending, businesses and workers are likely to be reassessing their new year budget – thinking twice before leaping to hire or looking for pastures new. 

Read the full report here.