A Santa shortage is threatening to leave Aussie families with a traditional family Santa photo on their wishlist disappointed this Christmas.
Talent agency Scene to Believe, which recruits staff for Santa photo booths at over 180 shopping centres, has revealed it does not have enough applicants for Santa roles this year.
Head Christmas recruiter at Scene to Believe, Viviana Diaz, told news.com.au the shortfall was nationwide, but the situation was more pronounced in Sydney.
The company said over the last three years it has seen fewer applicants for Santa positions, a problem it believes is due to Covid.
Ms Diaz said that contrary to popular belief, Santas can come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and that women can also apply.
“Sometimes they think they have to look like Santa,” Ms Diaz told news.com.au.
“But we provide a full Santa suit and they don’t have to have a real beard.”
Previous experience is also not required as Scene to Believe runs a Santa School where new Santas can learn tips from experienced Santas.
They are also taught about special Santa photo sessions the company runs, such as sensitive Santa sessions and pet photo sessions.
The company said Santas “need to be jolly, have a great HOHOHO and enjoy working with children”, while a genuine love of Christmas, patience and compassion, good communication skills and a current Working with Children Check and Police Check, or willingness to get these, are also important.
Ms Diaz added: “Being a shopping centre Santa is a perfect job for Aussies looking to help their hip pocket come Christmas time, with flexible working arrangements and casual rates.”
Experienced Scene to Believe Santa Tony Hooper said it’s “perfect for older Australians wanting to dip their toe back into the workforce”.
“Being a Santa is by far the best work I’ve ever done. It’s flexible, I work when I want and I spend my days talking to young families and getting in the festive spirit.”
“It’s also a great way to earn extra cash right before Christmas, which is when I need it most. And the best part is, I can still receive my pension!”
Ms Diaz said filing to fill its Santa positions was not an option.
“We have to find a lot of people because Santa has to be there. We will perform a Christmas miracle!”
The call out for more Santas comes at a time when job ads are falling, indicating there are less jobs available in the economy.
According to data from job website Seek, job ads fell 1.8 per cent in September when compared to August, while jobs ads in September were down a staggering 18.5 per cent from the same time last year.
Competition for jobs is also rising, with a 0.7 per cent increase in the number of applicants per job.
Queensland had the biggest fall in job ads, followed by the NT and Victoria.