Revelstoke is not the only community in our region that is closely examining its local economy and labour market.
The Sicamous & District Chamber of Commerce conducted its own survey with the cooperation of Work BC Sicamous at the end of the summer season.
“The information we gathered from both the in-person and online responses reaffirmed that many of our local employers are facing the same issues,” the Sicamous Chamber said in a statement sent to The Current by e-mail on Tuesday, February 3.
Below is a synopsis of the data they collected from all of those who participated:
“Not surprising, many struggled to attract and maintain staff for the season. Sicamous does not have a healthy supply of seasonal staff. Traditionally, summer positions are filled by students. That being said the number of students residing and or remaining in the area during the summer months is quite low. Many of the young people we see in the community during the summer months are actually visiting the area with family and are not normally seeking employment. There are students seeking employment from neighboring communities but the issue there is transportation.
“This lack of students to fill the job vacancies creates work for other “older” workers. However in addition to transportation the other issue for this group is wages. For the most part the positions available in Sicamous are not only seasonal but minimum wage. Keeping in mind the majority of positions are tourism related and many are physically demanding, making it once again difficult to attract and maintain employees.
“Transportation and staff housing were a reoccurring theme throughout the survey. Certainly these are familiar issues but as the community struggles to address many issues, such as the drinking water and how to attract and keep permanent residence it is important to remember employment and economic development go hand in hand.
“Sicamous relies on the tourism Industry and tourism-related employers to attract tourists to the area every year. One of the statements we heard/read throughout this process was how important it was to have employees who provided exceptional service and therefore encourage visitors to return to the area year after year. In other words tourism being the bread and butter for this area it is necessary to have a trained, experienced and motivated workforce.
“The purpose of this survey was to hopefully once again bring to the forefront the similar issues we as employers and those working with employers are facing in our community. With so many employers facing the same challenges every year we are hoping there will be an opportunity to come together and collectively address some of these issues. The recent forums held by the district saw concerned business owners and citizens coming together with some very positive attitudes and willingness to identify the issues and share ideas. There are other projects in the works but it takes the efforts of those most affected to keep the ball rolling and continue to identify the issues and try to work together to find solutions.
“Some of the suggestions made through the survey process were:
- Collaborative marketing of positions at job fairs, possibly having the chamber market this at different events
- Develop a work pool that employers can share as many positions are part time
- Post jobs earlier in preparation for the summer season;
- Post jobs on Work BC site to have cover entire province;
- Post jobs at universities and colleges to attract students;
- Post positions at ski hills in an effort to attract seasonal workers; and
- Employers work together to offer community housing for seasonal staff.
The Sicamous Chamber described its community as “a very unique and beautiful community with great potential. Attracting visitors is key; but attracting residents who can both afford to live and work here and hopefully raise their families here is a great place to start.”
Please click here to read about Revelstoke’s Labour Market Survey.