Labour squeeze drives record pay for seasonal workers but job satisfaction suffers

People who have taken a job to cover high demand in the run-up to Christmas are enjoying record levels of pay, according to a report which credits the country’s labour shortage.

But employment insights firm Glassdoor said all was not rosy for the seasonal worker as its data also showed that job satisfaction had slumped amid a slew of worries about burnout.

They included, the report said, work-life balance and working conditions.

Image: The labour squeeze is enabling seasonal workers to secure more money for their services

Large swathes of the economy including retail, food production and delivery traditionally hire tens of thousands of people to cope with the pre-Christmas rush.

But this year’s preparations have been hampered by a record shortage of workers – a consequence of the COVID pandemic but also Brexit immigration rules.


Sky News reported just last week how a shortage of butchers – despite a government climbdown on visa requirements ahead of the festive season – had even led to vets carrying out abortions on pigs.

Glassdoor reported that the widespread dearth of labour had given seasonal workers more power to demand better pay.

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It declared that the average hourly rate for seasonal work was £9.47 an hour – a 9% rise on Christmas 2019.

The most common salary band for Christmas jobs was £10-11 per hour, with the percentage of workers in this salary bracket increasing 164% on the same pre-COVID festive season.

Demand for labour across the manufacturing and transportation sectors – the latter hit by the well-publicised lack of HGV drivers and other delivery personnel, had pushed salaries up 12% on the same period.

But its research also revealed that workers who were already in seasonal roles were less satisfied this year with their Christmas jobs.

More employees were discussing workplaces being ‘understaffed’ and ‘tiring’, the report said.

Glassdoor economist Lauren Thomas said: “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.”