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Posted at 02:29 PM ET, 11/03/2011

‘Tis the season to hire holiday staff


A recent survey shows that fewer retailers plan to hire extra help — but more are willing to pay higher salaries — as they prepare for the crush of holiday shoppers in November and December.  (Stephen Chernin - Getty Images)
Salary numbers for most workers may still be grim, but the market for some seasonal employees is looking somewhat jolly.

More companies that bring on seasonal workers are likely to pay higher salaries this year, according to a survey released Thursday from Harris Interactive on behalf of the job site CareerBuilder. Fourteen percent of the 2,600 employers polled between August 16 and September 8 said they will pay $16 or more per hour to seasonal staff, up from 9 percent in last year’s survey.

Fewer retail employers plan to hire seasonal staffers this year than did last year, however, and roughly the same number of hospitality employers plan to do so.

The conversation:

" Managers, what should seasonal workers do in order to enhance their prospects of becoming permanent? And what should they avoid doing? "

The survey found that 29 percent of retailers plan to have extra help around the holidays, a moderate decline from 33 percent in 2010. Among hospitality companies, 10 percent will add seasonal staff — about the same as last year. The margin of sampling error for the poll is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

These seasonal hiring sprees can turn into long-term opportunities, with about a third of these companies likely to transition some of their seasonal hires into permanent staff members.

But what do employers look for in temporary employees who aim to make their jobs outlast the holiday crowds?

Jim Sluzewski, a spokesman for Macy’s, said the company seeks seasonal workers who “bloom where they’re planted,” meaning they excel in whichever role they’re assigned.

The retail giant plans to hire 78,000 seasonal employees this year — a 4 percent increase from last year — to work everything from its sales floor to the call center. Seasonal workers are some of the first in line to be called when permanent positions open up, Sluzewski said. Being able to work nights and weekends is also key, he said.

Managers polled in the CareerBuilder survey said they look for workers who ask thoughtful questions about the organization, ask for more projects and avoid giving the impression that they are interested in the discount above all else.

But are there other considerations? If you’re a business owner or manager, tell us in the comments what qualities can help turn a seasonal employee into a permanent one. What are the best things an aspiring full-time employee can do, and what are the worst?

By  |  02:29 PM ET, 11/03/2011

 
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