March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 18

RESEARCH
The Summer Seasonal Hiring Report
By Melissa May
S
ummer fun and parks and recreation go hand in hand. However, the
influx of visitors and program participants during the summer can be
taxing on year-round park and recreation staff. Ranging from maintenance
and landscaping professionals to summer camp staff and lifeguards,
the summer seasonal workforce is a lifeline to regular park and recreation
professionals, but recruiting and retaining this workforce can present
challenges. The Summer Seasonal Hiring Report, a new NRPA research report
released in February, explores the summer seasonal hiring process, identifies
some of the hiring challenges agencies nationwide faced in 2023, and highlights
how park and recreation professionals are addressing those challenges.
Key Findings
Nearly all park and recreation agencies
(97 percent) hired summer seasonal
staff in 2023. While those temporary
staff members' day-to-day
responsibilities may differ from agency
to agency, the most hired summer
seasonal staff positions included
summer camp staff (79 percent of
agencies), lifeguards (66 percent) and
maintenance workers (63 percent).
Parks and recreation provides firsttime
job experience for many teens
and young adults. Five in six park
and recreation summer seasonal employees
in 2023 were under the age
of 24. Local schools and colleges/
universities play a vital role in the recruitment
of summer seasonal workers.
Seventy-three percent of park
and recreation agencies partner with
their local school systems to find seasonal
workers, while 64 percent look
to local colleges and universities.
Recruiting and hiring summer
seasonal staff can be a long process.
Most park and recreation agencies
started their summer seasonal recruitment
in February, aiming to
have this temporary workforce in
place by May. More than half hired
at least 90 percent of their budgeted
summer seasonal workforce hours in
2023. Agencies serving communities
of less than 50,000 residents were
more likely than their peers serving
larger jurisdictions to successfully
meet their summer seasonal workforce
hiring targets.
Six in seven park and recreation
agencies took actions because of a
shortfall in summer seasonal staff in
2023. Fifty-six percent of park and
recreation agencies leaned on fulltime
staff to cover unfilled seasonal
hours, while a third of agencies increased
hours among permanent
part-time staff or shifted their responsibilities
to cover for a lack of
temporary summer staff. Programming
also was affected by a shortfall
in summer seasonal hiring. More
than a quarter of park and recreation
agencies reduced hours at their pools
or aquatics centers, capped enrollment
in summer camp below typical
levels or reduced the number of programs
offered altogether.
While many agencies successfully
hired an adequate number of summer
seasonal workers, nine in 10 park
and recreation agencies experienced
challenges
hiring and/or retaining
summer seasonal staff in 2023. The
18 Parks & Recreation | MARCH 2 0 2 4 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
most frequently cited challenge park
and recreation professionals faced
from their seasonal workforce was
the inability of those staff members to
fulfill the required length of time they
were needed. Half of all agencies indicated
their inability to match wages
at competing seasonal positions as an
additional challenge.
Seasonal job seekers may have
multiple options when it comes to
temporary summer work. However,
70 percent of park and recreation
professionals in 2023 indicated that
a lack of interest in working among
high school and/or college students
was their biggest challenge in hiring
summer seasonal workers. The food
industry (i.e., fast food/restaurants)
was noted by 56 percent of agencies
as their strongest competitor, followed
by retailers/warehouses (32 percent)
and private-sector pools, camps and
childcare providers (28 percent).
Recruitment Strategies
Increasing hourly wages, offering
flexible scheduling, holding hiring
events and hiring a mix of ages were
a few of the successful strategies park
and recreation agencies used to hire
their 2023 summer seasonal employees.
An indicator of a successful
summer seasonal hiring program
is the return of seasonal employees
year after year. Park and recreation
professionals indicated that one of
the most effective ways of retaining
summer seasonal staff from previous
years is simply treating temporary
employees as part of the team.
Melissa May is Senior Research Manager
at NRPA (mmay@nrpa.org).

March 2024 - Parks and Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2024 - Parks and Recreation

March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Intro
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover1
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover2
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 1
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 2
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 3
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 4
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March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 56
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover3
March 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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