Seasonal employee

A seasonal employee is someone who is employed on a temporary basis, usually during a particular season (both in relation to the calendar and industry ‘seasons’), usually in response to shorter spells of higher-than-average demand.

Seasonal employment is particularly common during periods such as Christmas and the new year, summer, and school holidays when parents are more likely to take time off work so that they can take their children out to enjoy leisure activities.

Industries and business where seasonal employment is common include:

  • Retail
  • Hotels
  • Cafes & restaurants
  • Leisure & activity centres
  • Delivery & postal workers
  • Construction (especially during the warmer months)
  • Ski resorts
  • Agriculture (e.g. harvesting and fruit picking)
  • Summer camps

By taking on seasonal staff, businesses are better able to cope with sudden peaks in demand, ensuring that customer satisfaction levels don’t drop. It also allows them to capitalise on busy periods — in some cases making the bulk of their annual profits during just a few weeks or months of the year.

Smart staff scheduling is imperative to getting the most out of seasonal staff. Managers are advised to make use of software that allows them to schedule shifts based on estimated revenue for that period, streamlining operations without risk of overspending on staffing and eating into profits.

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