Retailers Opening Thanksgiving Day

In our annual holiday hiring forecast, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicted holiday hiring to remain flat or decline slightly from last year’s record levels.  However, even with a slight decline in overall hiring, national retail chains are expected to hire tens of thousands of seasonal workers across the country.  Indeed, retailers so far have announced plans to hire 444,000 seasonal workers, according to initial tracking by Challenger.  Much of this hiring will occur over the next three to four weeks, so that retailers have workers in place for the all-important Black Friday sales.  Some retailers have moved up Black Friday shopping from early Friday morning to late Thanksgiving Thursday night.  “Among those starting sales on Thanksgiving Day is Macy’s, which is planning to hire the most seasonal workers so far this year, with 83,000, and announced some of its stores would open at 8p.m. Thanksgiving Day.  While there was some public criticism of earlier and earlier sales, the outcry obviously did not translate to decreased traffic or else Macy’s and others that are sure to make similar announcements in the coming weeks would not be doing it again this year,” said John Challenger. “The early opening will only increase the need for temporary seasonal workers, who are likely to be the ones stuck working on Thanksgiving Day, as those with more seniority tend to get first-preference when it comes to assigning holiday hours,” noted Challenger.  Will other retailers join Macy’s in opening on Thanksgiving Day?  How might early openings impact retail employment?  What can those seeking holiday jobs do to improve their chances of finding employment?

Macy’s

83,000

Target

70,000

Amazon

70,000

Walmart

55,000

Kohl’s

53,000

Toys R Us

45,000

JCPenney

35,000

GameStop

17,000

Meijer

9,000

JoAnn’s

3,000

eBay (Louisville, KY)

2,000

Eddie Bauer (Columbus, OH)

1,200

eBay (Eau Claire, WI)

800

Hot Jobs For 2018-2025

As the nation’s roughly 2 million college freshmen take the first steps on their career paths, the employment experts at global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., offered some advice on which areas could offer the most fertile employment landscape over the next decade. 

“Many freshmen have no idea what career path they want to pursue, relying on a mix of courses in the first year to help point them in the right direction.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it is a good idea to at least be armed with information about where job growth is expected to remain strong in order to make the best decisions about one’s course selections going forward,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“Those who concentrate on courses related to math, science, engineering and technology, will probably have the widest array of options upon graduation.  However, it is vital not to overlook critical coursework in writing, public speaking, and courses that sharpen your critical thinking skills.  While technical skills are in high demand, employers across the country consistently lament the lack of writing and communication skills that are essential in any profession one might pursue,” said Challenger.

Indeed, when human resources executives were asked by the Society of Human Resource Management to identify the skills that 2013 graduates were lacking the most, the largest percentage by far pointed to basic writing skills.  Nearly half of the HR professionals said last spring’s graduates lacked grammar, spelling and other writing skills.  Math, which ranked second in the list of skill deficiencies, was selected by 18 percent of respondents.

Read the full list here.

Hey College Grads, Things Are Looking Up

With college seniors around the nation returning to their respective campuses following spring break recess, many will undoubtedly turn their attention to their impending graduation and the search for their first post-collegiate job.  A new analysis of the entry-level job market estimates that while the job market continues to strengthen for college graduates, the environment remains highly competitive, which may force some to pursue unexpected career paths.

In its annual college graduate job-market outlook, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. says this year’s crop of 1.8 million bachelor’s degree recipients will be able to take advantage of the 36 consecutive months of private-sector employment growth that has occurred since the jobs recovery began in earnest in March 2010.

“Job creation has been slow, but it has been steady.  Over the past 14 months, private payrolls have grown by an average of 190,000 new workers per month.  There are a growing number of opportunities for job seekers, but the search definitely requires an aggressive approach.  This is especially true for new graduates, who are likely to have less real-world experience to point to in job interviews,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“This lack of experience would have less impact if they were only competing for jobs with their fellow graduates.  However, in this economy, it is likely that they will be vying for entry-level job opportunities with those who have been in the workforce for one to five years.  They may even be competing with seniors looking for any opportunity to continue working even it means taking a dramatic cut in pay, title and responsibility,” he added.

Despite increased competition for entry-level positions, the latest data on starting salaries suggest that demand for new graduates is on the rise.  According to a January survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (www.naceweb.org), the average starting salary for new college graduates earning bachelor’s degrees increased 3.4 percent over last year.  The biggest gains were achieved by those in education, whose starting salaries rose by 5.4 percent from $38,581 for the class of 2011 to $40,668 for last year’s graduating class.

While those in education saw the biggest increase, last year’s graduates with a bachelor’s degree in engineering enjoyed the highest starting salary at $62,655, up 3.8 percent from $60,344 for 2011 graduates.

Engineering and technology graduates are likely to experience some of the shortest post-graduation job search times.  In fact, the most talented students in these fields may have multiple job offers to weigh before they even collect their diplomas, according to Challenger.

Read the full report here.

2012 Holiday Hiring Outlook: Better Than Last Year

Retailers Hopeful for Sales Gains, But That May Not Translate To Increased Hiring

While solid back-to-school sales boosted the confidence of retailers heading into the all-important holiday season, the possibility of increased sales this year may not be enough to spur a significant increase in seasonal hiring, according to the outlook released Monday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In its annual holiday hiring forecast, Challenger estimated that seasonal job gains are likely to be slightly higher than a year ago but still below pre-recession levels.  Those hoping to take advantage of the seasonal hiring should act early, as several sizable hiring plans announced by major retailers in September suggest that recruiting may start before October.

Last year, retail payrolls saw a non-seasonally adjusted net gain of 660,200 workers from October through December.  That was up just 1.9 percent from 2010, when retail employment increased by 647,600 workers during the holiday hiring season.  Prior to the recession, from 2004 through 2007, retail employment grew by an average of more than 722,000 over the final three months of the year.

“The economy has continued its slow recovery and surveys of retailers show that they are hopeful for solid sales gains this year.  However, recent consumer confidence readings have been relatively weak and unemployment remains stubbornly high.  The mixed picture is likely to compel retail employers to proceed cautiously when it comes to hiring extra workers for the holiday season.  Look for many to start at last year’s levels and hire additional workers only if strong sales early in the season warrant it,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Last year, retailers added just over 660,000.  This year, that figure could approach 700,000.  There is still too much uncertainty to expect seasonal employment gains to reach the level we saw in 2006, when retailers added nearly 747,000 extra workers at the end of the year.  We may never again reach the level of hiring achieved in 1999, at the height of the dot.com boom, when nearly 850,000 seasonal workers were added,” he added.

Get the full report here.

2010 Labor Day Outlook

As Labor Day approaches, many Americans want signs of a job-market recovery.  While many are frustrated with the pace of job creation, the job market is actually well on the road to recovery and is rebounding sooner and faster compared to the jobless recoveries that followed the previous two recessions.

By most accounts, we are barely a year into the recovery.  At this point in the previous two recoveries – following the 1991 and 2001 recessions – the job market was actually getting worse.  Many people are so caught up looking at the weekly and monthly numbers, that they fail to look at the bigger trends, which indicate just how much the job market has improved over the last 12 months.

There is no doubt that the job market has a long way to go before it fully recovers.  After all, this is the worst recession this country has experienced in decades, with unemployment climbing to 10.1 percent as the number of jobless American grew by more 8.3 million, reaching a record high of 15.6 million.  It doesn’t take an economist or jobs expert to tell you that it is going to take longer to get all of these people back onto payrolls.

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