Christine Willow of Chemistry Consulting says the strong employment market has made it more difficult for companies to hire seasonal workers.

Christine Willow of Chemistry Consulting says the strong employment market has made it more difficult for companies to hire seasonal workers.

Victoria businesses looking for workers under their Christmas trees

Employment opportunities bulging like Santa’s belly but workers already have their stockings stuffed

True to the body shape of the season’s central character, employment during the winter experiences a seasonal bulge as companies hire additional staff to handle the busy shopping season.

Unfortunately within the capital region there isn’t enough worker’s to feed the appetite of Father Christmas.

With Victoria’s unemployment rate among the lowest in the country hovering around 3.3 per cent — below the threshold of what economists consider full employment — local companies looking to fill additional jobs are having a hard time.

Christine Willows, partner in Chemistry Consulting Group, a human resource consulting firm, says seasonal positions are difficult to fill for a number of reasons.

First, seasonal jobs are less attractive, because people already have jobs. Second, people have choices.

“Someone may start the position, then is offered a full time position elsewhere,” she said.

Third, conflicting work schedules may make it difficult to take on another position. Fourth, university and college students, a traditional source of seasonal labour, tend to go home for the holidays, said Willow.

Ultimately, this combination of factors has complicated the search for seasonal labour, and companies are looking for various ways to keep their staff and find new ones.

Willow has heard anecdotes about companies, who are promoting people to supervisory positions that may not be ready for those or have little experience.

“Retailers are [also] focusing on seniors to fill the demand,” she said.

Simply put, if you are looking for work, whether seasonal or full-time, the choice is yours.

“The numbers could not be better if you are looking for work these days,” said Willow.

She especially sees this phenomenon on the other side of her business — GT Hiring Solutions — which offers employment services for the unemployed.

Over the past three years, the client volume has dropped over 60 per cent, she said. “People with minimal or no challenges and who want to work, can find work,” she said.

While no formal statistics exist, on worker demand Indeed.com lists 89 seasonal jobs within 25 kilometres of Victoria, ranging across retail, horticulture, transportation, and hospitality. Monster.ca lists 30 seasonal jobs with postings overlapping Indeed.com. Available jobs include delivery drivers, sales associates, cashiers and landscape workers — in short, all the types of jobs needed during a season that combines mass consumerism with festive horticulture.

In fact, Indeed.com predicts that overall seasonal hiring in 2017 on is on pace to beat previous years, with wages rising accordingly, accordingly to published reports.

These figures, of course, fail to capture the hidden job market, which is really not so hidden, if you consider all the jobs-wanted signs adorning fast food restaurants of various repute.

Just Posted

I hope the pandemic doesn’t kill the bulk section. I like to choose my own candy. (File)
Police are investigating after a man was killed at a home on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police investigating early-morning murder in Duncan

One arrested after man killed at Cowichan Lake Road home

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in fatal Chemainus hit-and-run

Investigation expected to be lengthy and involved

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Public to avoid the wooded areas around Queneesh Elementary

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre has reopened with 45 shelter spots for people experiencing homelessness in Victoria. (Courtesy of Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre)
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre shelter in Victoria reopens with spots for 45 people

Arena is an interim step until long-term housing is found

Visitors relax at the natural hot springs located within Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. (tofinohiking.com photo)
Maquinna Marine Provincial Park boardwalk project on track

“The walk down the two-kilometre boardwalk to the springs itself is by far one of the most incredible experiences.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Most Read