Lodi News-Sentinel

Six Flags plans to hire thousands for seasonal jobs, testing teen labor force

- Dom DiFurio

Six Flags Entertainm­ent Corp. is hiring 15,000 seasonal workers nationwide this week in its big annual push to staff up for the busy summer season, and one that likely hinges on whether teenagers are ready to return to seasonal jobs.

The company is hosting hiring events at its theme parks across the country. Six Flags’ labor model is built on a large, seasonal, part-time labor force. Last summer, the company announced that it would increase wages for some positions to $11 an hour at minimum and offer bonuses to seasonal employees who stay on longer. It also loosened a number of its rules for employees, who can now get hired when they have tattoos, nose rings, multiple ear piercings and “most modern hairstyles.”

“Our jobs are great for students, teachers, retirees or anyone looking for a second job that allows them to work around a busy personal schedule,” Six Flags Over Texas manager of marketing and communicat­ions Brad Malone said.

The hiring push comes as experts raise questions about what summer labor trends will look like for teenagers who stepped away from summer work in large numbers last year. In 2021, teen participat­ion in summer jobs dropped 40% from summer 2020, according to a Challenger, Gray & Christmas analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It was the largest year-over-year decrease since at least the summer of 1998.

“So many ever-shifting factors will go into teen employment this year. Will COVID cases rise to the point where restrictio­ns limit the number of jobs available? Will inflation and the measures implemente­d to combat it prohibit many companies from hiring teens? Will consumers have the disposable income to spend at places that hire teen workers?” Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. president Andrew Challenger said in a statement last week.

“The jobs are available, but it remains to be seen if teens will take them.”

Six Flags is looking toward the summer season with new leadership and a new vision. The theme park operator is raising the price of entry and doing away with heavily discounted tickets. New chief executive Selim Bassoul is overseeing the shift in business strategy as well as a revamp of the park’s food and beverage offerings.

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