Permanent work for seasonal student staff

By Gillian Fitzsimons

Many students who found temporary work over the Christmas period have since been offered permanent contracts by their employers.

During the busy festive period, many well known retailers, restaurants and pubs offer temporary contracts, and students across the country apply for these positions.

David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Retail Excellence, outlined why retailers take on such a vast workforce coming up to Christmas.

“The need for seasonal temporary workers has in fact grown over this period as many retailers have shed jobs but need extra resources coming into the crucial Christmas period… it is our estimation that the retail industry hires 30,000 seasonal temporary positions every Christmas,” he said.

He believes that students more so than others avail of these jobs, noting that “many of these positions are taken up by unemployed people seeking additional income over Christmas, however as we have a very inflexible social welfare system many unemployed people don’t apply. Thus many of the roles are taken up by students.”

Tony Donohue, head of education policy at the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), also believes many Irish students gain employment during this time because they are “generally… very flexible and this is very attractive to the employer”.

He does not feel students are at a disadvantage to other working groups. “I don’t think employers are more or less likely to take on students, in essence they are looking for someone with experience,” he said.

Donohue believes that sometimes the biggest problem for students struggling to gain employment can be a lack of experience, adding, “even if students have just a few months of experience this can make all the difference”.

DCU student Sarah O’Brien said: “I found some Christmas work in a bar in the city centre, I was working twenty to thirty hours a week during the busy period. I didn’t think my position was going to be made permanent but I was offered a contract. I now work about twelve hours a week as I am back at college.”

Alan Harris, a student in Carlow IT, also found permanent employment. “I applied for a Christmas job in my local supermarket, they were offering a few permanent roles after Christmas and luckily enough I got one,” he said.


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