First waitresses and waitresses, then truck drivers – and now Santa Claus too. The UK is, once again, lacking an essential workforce.
London – high season for Santa Claus: reading stories aloud in Winter Wonderland, handing out gifts in kindergarten and always being friendly and never in a hurry.
But that’s not that easy in Great Britain this year – because the demand is huge. And it can also be earned well with it. According to media reports, hourly wages for professional Santa Clauses have in some cases more than tripled.
The reason: The Santas are missing. On the job site Indeed, for example, there are hundreds of vacancies these weeks. We are looking for people who are ready to throw themselves into Christmas costumes for a day or by the hour and take on all those tasks that are expected of Santa Clauses – or, in rarer cases, Santa Clauses.
It is by no means the first profession to be severely deficient in the UK this year. In late summer, empty supermarket shelves and dried-out gas stations hit the headlines when truck drivers were unable to get fuel and goods from A to B. Pubs and farmers also complain about a lack of staff.
Up to 936 euros as a daily wage
And now the Santa Clauses. “Santa and his aides are not immune to the seasonal labor shortages,” Indeed’s Jack Kennedy recently told the Daily Star. In some cases, daily wages of up to 800 pounds (around 936 euros) are offered.
The unusual Santa bottleneck is closely related to the pandemic. In the past, it was often somewhat older men who took on the role – today they are among the greatest risk groups in the event of a corona infection. Since the Santa Claus job is usually associated with a lot of contacts, many will probably decide against it.
Job expert Kennedy also sees less demand for seasonal jobs overall. Since there are currently job offers in many industries, the occasional assignment is not one of the most attractive options for making money.
The Nextdoor network, which connects people online with neighbors, has taken a closer look at the problem. An online poll of 2,000 British adults conducted by polling firm Opinium in November found that more than three-quarters of respondents (78 percent) don’t expect to see a Santa Claus anywhere this year. At least for some, something is missing: Almost a third (31 percent) said they would be disappointed if their Christmas season had to do without Santa at all.
Santa trainings in several cities
Reason enough for the network to take remedial action: those responsible organized Santa training courses in several cities, as Nextdoor’s community manager Roisin O’Neill reported. “In it, our Santa helpers learn everything they need, from the right ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ to reindeer names, how to dress up and make-up, which words to use, how to greet children, to festive quizzes. Play.”
In London, Manchester, but also Wales and Scotland, up to 100 volunteers are being trained in these weeks. “The response has been incredible,” said O’Neill.
After all: those professional Santas who do the Christmas work this year seem to be satisfied despite all the hurdles. From the press office of Rent-A-Santa it only says on request: “Greetings from the North Pole headquarters – there is only one Santa, and everything is wonderful and very busy.” Dpa