NewsLtd: Christmas jobs feast - Michelle Gibbings

Thanks to the NewsLtd and Melanie Burgess for inviting Michelle to share her thoughts about why taking a casual job over the holiday season often leads to a full-time role.

Less than three months out from Christmas, it is peak hiring season for summer casuals and, combined with easing Covid restrictions, it’s shaping up to be a bumper year.

SEEK managing director Kendra Banks says there are currently about 20,000 casual jobs advertised on the site and these usually peak in October.

“We’re seeing growing demand for candidates within the hospitality and tourism and retail sectors in the lead-up to the holiday season,” she says.

“These industries have been hit the hardest throughout the year due to lockdowns so it’s a really positive sign to see the majority of casual roles advertised within these sectors.

“As Victoria and New South Wales continue to ease restrictions, we expect to see even more demand between now and the end of the year.”

What kind of jobs are on offer?

A July survey by SEEK reveals one in five Aussies has worked a Christmas casual job, with retail roles (66 per cent) the most common.

Other Christmas casuals were employed in hospitality (20 per cent), warehousing and logistics (11 per cent), photography (9 per cent) and delivery driving (5 per cent) – while one in 20 dressed up as a Christmas character.

Casual roles are currently being advertised across companies such as Myer, The Good Guys, JD Sports and Coles.

“We want to make Christmas as special as we can and ensure we can be there for the community at the busiest time of year,” a Coles spokeswoman says. “We’re looking for people ready to work with enthusiasm, energy and pace.”

Westfield is also hiring casuals for the 2021 festive season.

South Australians Jess Chambers, 39, and Vanessa Russo, 24, joined Westfield Tea Tree Plaza last Christmas and this Christmas, they’ll be supporting customers at the Westfield Direct service desk.

Westfield Direct allows customers to shop from any Westfield via, with Click and Collect and home delivery now available.

“Now, I’ve been given the opportunity to learn new and exciting skills as a Westfield Direct co-ordinator,” Chambers says.

“I am looking forward to growing my career with such a supportive company.”

Why apply for a Christmas job

The SEEK survey reveals extra income to help with holiday expenses is the main reason (54 per cent) people take on casual positions in the lead-up to Christmas.

Others are attracted by penalty rates for working certain days (37 per cent), or the opportunity to gain relevant work experience (29 per cent) or get a foot in the door of the industry (18 per cent).

Workplace expert Michelle Gibbings says Christmas or summer holiday jobs offer lots of benefits apart from just earning extra cash.

“It’s often a stepping stone to full-time work and, consequently, a great way to gain first-hand knowledge of your preferred industry or profession and an opportunity to determine if it’s the right environment or role for you,” says Gibbings, author of Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one.

“Regardless of the nature of the work, you are learning essential skills, including social skills and relationship management, responsibility and accountability, money management, process management and how to use systems and new technology.

“These are all transferable skills to add to your CV and take to your next job.

“You are starting to build a network of contacts with managers and colleagues, which becomes an invaluable asset as you progress through your career.

“It’s an opportunity to gain references and referees to use when applying for future roles.

“(You are) building your confidence as you learn new skills and find ways to resolve challenges at work.”

Gibbings says that even if a jobseeker does not get the role, they benefit from going through the application process.

“Every time you apply for a job, you learn more about presenting yourself, articulating your skills, and selling yourself in an interview,” she says.

More than half of the SEEK survey respondents revealed they were offered an ongoing role after joining a company as a Christmas casual.

Most received a part-time or long-term casual position but one in 10 landed a full-time role after the silly season.

Turn a short-term gig into a long-term position


“Take the job seriously and strive to deliver more than what people expect,” Gibbings says.

“When you are a great contributor, your employer will rely on you and be keener to keep you.”


“Meet your employer’s needs, work well with your colleagues and make yourself a valued member of the team,” she says.


The saying “don’t ask, don’t get” often rings true, according to Gibbings.

“If you are keen to work full time, give your boss plenty of notice, so they have time to consider and plan,” she says.

“Highlight how you have the skills, experience and attitude the organisation needs.”


“Check in with your boss on your performance and where you can improve, and demonstrate you listen and respond to that feedback,” she says.


“The organisation may not have a full-time job immediately, so schedule time in your diary to keep in touch,” she says.

Publication: | |