Pay for Christmas workers up 9% on pre-Covid levels

With Christmas just three weeks away, new research from Glassdoor reveals that the average pay for seasonal employees has reached record levels due to a lack of workers.

With tens of thousands of temporary Christmas jobs to fill, the average hourly rate for seasonal work is now £9.47 an hour. This is a 9 percent increase compared to the last non-COVID Christmas in 2019 when mean hourly rates were £8.69. The extra 78 pence per hour is the highest pay rise in years for seasonal workers.

Between 2016 and 2019, most seasonal employee salaries were under £9 per hour. Fast forward to 2021 and Glassdoor data shows that the most common salary band for Christmas jobs to be £10-11 per hour, with the percentage of workers in this salary bracket increasing 164 percent from 2019.

Analysing the key industries that support the Christmas season, demand for labour across the manufacturing and transportation sectors has pushed salaries up 12 percent in 2021 versus 2019 (£9.19 per hour rising to £10.25 per hour for manufacturing and £9.81 per hour increasing to £11.00 for those in transportation).

The pandemic and resulting labour shortage have allowed many workers to demand better from their employers. With a recent Glassdoor survey finding that 1 in 2 workers under the age of 25 (51 percent) have changed their jobs since March 2020 the ‘Great Resignation’ has forced companies to increase wages to attract workers to temporary positions. In addition, many larger organisations are offering one-off bonuses upon joining in a bid to bolster their workforce over Christmas, a time when the retail, hospitality and shipping sectors make the majority of their yearly profits.

For those looking for a temporary job this festive season, there is now more choice than ever. But the research also revealed that workers who are already in seasonal roles are less satisfied this year with their Christmas jobs.

With vacancies in the UK at an all-time high, employees are beginning to feel overworked. In Glassdoor reviews, mentions of taxing work conditions have increased – with more employees discussing workplaces being ‘understaffed’ and ‘tiring’.

Furthermore, conversation around work-life balance and flexibility has also risen amongst seasonal workers – indicating that, just like those with permanent roles,  temporary staff are still feeling the strain of burnout 18 months into the pandemic.

Glassdoor data also revealed that pay is the least important factor when it comes to employee satisfaction. A company’s culture and values, quality of senior leadership and access to career development were the leading factors.

Glassdoor economist Lauren Thomas comments: “Employers across the UK are having to pull out all the stops to fill the thousands of seasonal positions which are still open for Christmas. Hourly pay is at an all-time high but the tight labour market has left employees with tough working conditions.”