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Overcoming the Challenges of Tourism Recruitment in Alberta

The Canadian government estimates that tourism contributes as much to Canada’s overall wealth as agriculture, fishery, and forestry combined. In Alberta, tourism truly drives the economy, with 34.8 million visitors and $8.5 billion in tourism expenditures each year. Tourism also provides 127,000 full-time equivalent jobs to the Alberta labour market.

Seasonal Workforce Demands in Tourism Recruitment

The tourism industry in Alberta is highly seasonal. There are attractions that receive more tourists in the winter months, such as skiing at Lake Louise or snowshoeing at Elk Island National Park. In the summer, different activities attract tourists, such as campgrounds, golf courses, or the Calgary Stampede. Each of these attractions requires skilled seasonal workers to be employed for a few months at a time.

It can be challenging to attract a workforce to temporary employment, especially if job seekers are not aware of the benefits, pay, and rewarding work that tourism in Alberta has to offer. Because of the industry’s large contribution to the provincial economy, it’s also crucial that employers can effectively staff their seasonal attractions.

Top 2 Challenges of Seasonal Recruiting


1. Small Applicant Pools for a Seasonal Labour Force

According to a poll conducted by HireVue and Aon Hewitt, more than half of the respondents indicated that their primary challenge with seasonal staffing was obtaining a large enough applicant pool to fill available positions.

Employers require multiple applicants for all available jobs, allowing them to select the best candidates. However, for tourism recruitment, employers are at a disadvantage with low applicant headcounts, making it difficult to meet minimum staffing requirements.

2. Shortened Hiring and Workforce Development Cycles

With seasonal work, the hiring cycle is shortened. Staff must be recruited, interviewed, trained, and ready to hit the ground running in an accelerated time frame.

Enormous pressure is placed on hiring managers to fill job vacancies quickly. Without the time to adequately plan or distribute job postings, or without access to labour market information on where to find skilled workers, ideal candidates may be missed and the tourism recruitment process may be slowed even further.

How to Overcome Seasonal Alberta Labour Challenges

Part of the challenge in recruiting for seasonal tourism positions may be unfounded stereotypes associated with the sector’s jobs. People may only think of the typical summer or winter attraction jobs, such as lifeguard, chair lift operator, amusement park attendant, etc.

In this case, Alberta workforce development organizations are probably already doing the good work of creating promotional material to counter any false perceptions. For example, a brochure detailing employment and career opportunities in tourism could entice prospective employees to look into the industry further, by stating the benefits which job seekers may not be aware of, including:

  • A large number of great job openings
  • High starting salaries
  • Fringe benefits
  • Career advancement opportunities

Tourism marketing and advertising in Alberta and in the high-tourism areas also reinforces how important these employees are to the industry. Alberta prides itself on warm hospitality and a high quality of service to tourists, which can only be sustained with a dedicated workforce.

Use Real-Time Labour Market Data for Seasonal Staffing

Vicinity Regional Demand and Supply Reporting SystemsTM allows for labour supply and demand trends in Alberta to be monitored in real time. While promoting the tourism industry, you can also use data-driven reporting tools to develop the Alberta labour force on a granular level - instead of a 10,000 foot view - to help businesses prepare for the next tourism season, faster.

With data targeted to specific tourism areas in Alberta and that can be reported on a monthly basis, it becomes easier to identify seasonal trends for workforce developers and tourism employers.

Get More Data on the Alberta Labour Force

Download the Alberta Labour Market Information Tools e-book to learn how to get more data on the Alberta workforce.

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