After a partial shutdown of some industries for weeks, British Columbia’s economy is creaking back open.
The Hotel Grand Pacific is gearing up for what likely will be a ‘Canadian only’ summer.
“We’re looking at 50-60 per cent occupancies for this summer. We’re still going to be stressed to try to get enough people to accommodate that kind of occupancies though,” said Reid James, general manager.
Due to that increase, the hotel will likely be hiring 20-30 people. But many of their past employees, who were laid off during the pandemic, aren’t coming back.
“Probably at least 20-30 per cent have found other jobs,” said James.
So where are they going? Office jobs.
“People that were going to university that were working in restaurants came to us looking for additional work,” said Rose Arsenault, manager of Agilus Work Solutions, a job recruiting company in Greater Victoria.
Arsenault says the pandemic has forced many to reassess their careers, and employment agencies like hers are seeing more people re-training to enter different workplaces.
“They’re looking for places they can contribute, they can be appreciated and where they don’t have to maybe put up with long hours or late nights, or rely on tips,” said Arsenault.
And those looking for a job are being selective because they can: it’s a job-seeker’s market.
“Employers are really going to have to start to promote their company and explain why it’s a great place to work,” said Arsenault. “Instead of just posting a job with a list of duties, they’re going to have to tell people what’s in it for them.”
In the past two weeks, the number of job postings has skyrocketed, and they’re only expected to grow — mainly because we’re experiencing a people shortage.
“We have seen a stoppage of immigration which means that those workers aren’t here either. And a number of students that would have filled summer positions, if not a lot of part-time positions for the rest of the year, are also not here,” said Bruce Williams, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
Experts say no sector is immune, and employers won’t have the luxury of being as picky as they once were.