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Top 5 industries hiring at Christmas

by Jack Phillips

Want to get to work? Summer is often the time we zone out and chill out but there are actually many industries that hire extra people at Christmas. If you’re looking for work – check out these 5 industries and discover a new career!

If you want to have some fun while earning some cash for the holiday season, not to mention gain some invaluable skills then look no further. Companies are always looking to hire extra staff during at this time of year, commonly dubbed ‘Silly Season’, which presents job seekers with an opportunity to obtain valuable experience and position themselves for a possible full-time job in the New Year.

Here are the top 5 industries hiring over Christmas and what you need to know about them in order to bag yourself a role.



Australia’s $265 billion retail sector employs over 1.2 million people in hundreds of thousands of stores across the country and its worker ranks swell exponentially during the Christmas period. But with many people on the hunt for extra cash and experience within the sector, it is important to know what you want and how to get it.

“In the three months to Christmas retailers look for strong, flexible and confident staff who can work through the extended hours of the season,” says Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director of Hays Retail.

While overall candidate levels have increased, Peter notes that so too have job opportunities. “There are a lot of experienced retail employees looking for their next role but many retailers are also looking for additional staff to see them through this busy period. The jobs market is active on both sides, with employers and candidates all looking for the right person in the right job.”

Sales assistant roles, sometimes called sales associates are widely required for stores to take advantage of the increased influx of shoppers buying gifts and to shift extra products when the Christmas sales hit in the New Year.

Those looking for more senior roles can expect team member positions to arise, who often mange the temporary customer assistants, many of whom go on to become assistant managers if offered full-time employment.

According to the latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of jobs in demand; area and state managers are often wanted, providing those with a tad more experience an opportunity to take on a more senior role, even if just for a sort time.



Between December and January it is true that many media companies slow down their work loads and run a skeleton crew for the seasonal period, but there are also many companies, such as those in the entertainment industry, that take on more staff.

“Everyone seems to be caught up with the mad rush to Christmas” says director of Profiler Recruitment Lynne Payne who has observed that skills in demand range from “training facilitation and sales management to customer service related roles.”

Toni McMenamin, Director of toniMAC Recruitment says that the demand for “digital developers, producers, UX designers increases over the holiday period with permanent employees taking 2-3 weeks of annual leave.”

Skills in TV editing, radio engineering and studio managing are highly regarded at this time of year but there are also plenty of opportunities for those with a varied creative skill set that includes acting and modelling. Have you long dreamed of being a Santa Claus impersonator? Well believe it or not there are plenty of roles out there that could land you your very own faux white beard.

Checking companies websites and job posting boards are a good way to keep up with who is hiring and when – plus research freelance agencies within your field.



Of course, there is a large part of the Australian population looking to get out and buy over the festive season. Coupled with the fact that Australia has its summer over Christmas, there are many attractions looking for staff.

Tourism is an important industry for the Australian economy. It accounts for roughly 2.5% of Australia’s GDP adding a value $35 billion to the national economy. I really enjoyed reading the new RV blog on 100 best things to do in Australia.(

Well, if you secured a casual position at a tourism hotspot you could experience animal handling, guiding and interpretation – all valuable and free skills to add to your future arsenal.

In order to bag a role like this you need to demonstrate what sets you apart from other applicants. You need to be flexible, well presented and preferably have customer experience, but if you can show that you awareness of the company philosophy and a commitment to its values, well the job is yours to lose.



With office parties galore between late November and January, bars, restaurants and clubs need more staff to ensure folk ring in the festive season in style.

The hotel industry is a significant sector of the Australian economy.  In addition to providing employment opportunities for more than 270,000 people across the country, the hospitality industry, now accounts for one in twenty jobs in Australia. There are opportunities for part-time and casual employment, which means there are many jobs highly suitable for casual workers when the industry explodes over Christmas.

What can you expect? From serving drinks and food, to checking coats, stocking bars and manning the reservation desk. It’s hard work, but can be great fun too.

Positions include bartenders and bar jobs in hotels, bars, café’s and nightclubs, waiters/waitress jobs in restaurants and hotels, food preparation and service staff, function and corporate boardroom wait staff and head chefs, sous chefs and so on.

Knowledge goes a long way so experience in silver service, sommelier, cocktail making and fine dinging is helpful, but often no previous experience is required and you can learn more skills along the way. Flexibility, reliability and a smile can make the difference between hiring and well… not hiring.

There are also many agencies out there that cater for special seasonal events. One day you could be working at the Sydney Opera House, the next a beautiful hotel and the day after that at a beach party serving cocktails.

Summer jobs

A summer job can be more than just a way to earn a little extra cash, for students working their way through university it can lead to a career after graduation and for people wishing to see a bit more of the world, you can travel with it too.

At any one time there are from 15,000 to 20,000 fruit picking jobs advertised in Australia and summer is the perfect time to be in the orchard – just make sure you have a hat.

Backpacker participation is down by 36 per cent, which means there are more roles up for grabs and many use the Harvest Trail as a way to see Australia, and get paid doing it.

“Each summer tens of thousands of harvest vacancies are registered on the Federal Government’s Harvest Trail website,” says National Harvest Labour Information Service spokeswoman Mary-Anne Maloney.

If you have exceptional customer service with the ability to safely supervise aquatic activities and have a positive and friendly approach, many local councils will value your ideas and reward your achievements with various opportunities for development.

Go forth: Learn, love and progress

The trick with securing a role in any of the above industries lies in being proactive in finding them and recognising what you the need in order to bag them. Many jobs are posted online but it doesn’t hurt to ask your friends, family and local businesses for potential leads.

Not all of these jobs require skills other than a strong personality and a hard working ethic but why not look into upping your skill set with a course and give yourself the best possible advantage. Personal improvement should always be considered part of your ongoing development and securing a role in the workplace, even just for a short period of time, will also be of benefit as you go forward. And, that is just what you should do, go forward, be brave and enjoy learning and meeting new people along the way.

 Looking to get a few more skills? Study one of 100 courses online. Open Colleges’ courses can be started on any day of the year, even though summer!

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