Seasonal Trends in Hiring

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The availability of jobs can change from one season to another. If you have the luxury of choosing when to start your job search, you may be able to shorten it by acting at a time when more employers are looking to expand. Some trends, like the tendency of retailers to add more workers during the holiday season, are fairly intuitive. Others, like the mixture of hot and cold hiring that occurs in the fourth quarter of the year, are a little more difficult to sort out.

Periods of increased hiring occur sporadically throughout most of the year. In January and February, hiring tends to pick up, possibly because decision makers are back in their offices after taking time off for the holidays. The first-quarter hiring season is the perfect time for people who are already employed and looking for a better position to start their search. Other hiring peaks occur in early fall, which is associated with vacations that are taken in the late summer. Hiring in the hospitality and tourism industries is particularly strong during the spring season, as those industries snap up talent in preparation for the summer high season. Moreover, there may be a fourth-quarter increase in hiring at profitable companies, as they look to incur the costs associated with recruiting before a successful accounting period ends, while they still have time to reduce their tax burden.

The holiday season also offers a number of opportunities for short-term work that can turn into long-term employment. While retailers add tens of thousands of seasonal workers to deal with holiday sales rushes, firms in other industries also experience end-of-year crunches. Jobs may open up in financial services, informational technology, and leisure and hospitality. Hiring for those positions often begins in September and ends after October, meaning that you should apply early if you hope to land a job.

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