- Employers in mountain communities such as Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise struggle to find enough staff for the busy summer due to a tight labor market exacerbated by the pandemic.
- To address this shortage, employers are getting creative with recruitment strategies, such as raising wages, offering benefits, and launching national campaigns to attract youth and student applicants.
- Cautious optimism exists for a successful summer season if employers continue to do everything possible to attract and retain staff, including raising wages, offering bonuses, and more.
Summer Hiring in Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise
With the arrival of summer, employers in Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise are hiring for the busy season. However, the ongoing tight labor market has made it difficult for businesses to attract and retain workers.
Director Urges Employers to Be Competitive
The director of the Job Resource Centre for Banff and Canmore, Michel Dufresne, has advised employers to be competitive in their efforts to recruit and retain staff. He encourages employers to raise wages and offer adequate time off for employees to enjoy the mountain community lifestyle. According to Dufresne, these practices are standard in other industries but not prevalent enough in the hospitality sector.
Wages on the Rise
Dufresne has observed an increase in wages for positions posted through the job center, as employers are becoming more open to the idea that inadequate pay will not attract the staff they need. While wages are not expected to double overnight, Dufresne is optimistic that the situation is improving.
Worker Shortage in Mountain Communities
Recruiting workers in mountain communities have always been a challenge, but the pandemic has made it even more difficult. Workers from Eastern Canada, Quebec, Europe, and Australia were forced to return home due to the pandemic, and many have yet to return to the area in full force. This shortage left many employers with only two-thirds of their typical staffing complement.
Creative Recruitment Strategies
Employers are getting creative with their recruitment strategies. The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity has increased wages to be more competitive and offers benefits such as staff housing and discounts on gym memberships, airport parking, and car rentals. Parks Canada has launched a national hiring campaign to fill entry-level positions for the upcoming summer season. The government agency has also created a new youth and student summer job portal to make it easier for applicants to apply for jobs.
Parks Canada’s Recruitment Campaign
Parks Canada’s recruitment campaign features marketing videos on YouTube and social media titled “What is an Entry Level Job?” and “Find Your Dream Job.” The videos showcase national parks and historic sites and Parks Canada staffers commuting to work via bike, skiing downhill, and laughing with their green-shirted colleagues. The government agency has already received over 7,100 applicants through the new youth and student summer job portal.
Rocky Mountain Businesses Fear Staff Shortages for Summer Tourist Season
Despite these efforts, many businesses in the Rocky Mountains remain doubtful that they will find enough staff in time for the busy summer tourist season. The pandemic has resulted in a dire lack of housing for Banff workers, exacerbating the staffing shortage.
Dufresne is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season, noting an uptick in applicants compared to last year. However, he emphasizes that employers cannot get complacent and must continue to do everything possible to attract and retain staff. This includes raising wages and benefits, offering bonuses for workers who recruit other staff, and more.
In conclusion, mountain town employers are facing a tough labor market as they prepare for the summer season. However, by being competitive and creative in their recruitment efforts, there is hope for a successful summer.