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A different kind of winter

Chamber won’t hold job fair this year, alternative solutions to be announced at Oct. 15 luncheon



It is no secret that next winter season will be anything but usual.

While the 2010 Winter Games promise to keep the resort municipality hopping in February, there are fears the Olympic aversion factor may leave the village less-than-busy the rest of the winter.

As part of the preparations for the crazy times ahead, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce has announced it will not hold the traditional fall job fair this season.

Chamber President Fiona Famulak explained that the organization started to ask businesses in May whether they would find a job fair useful, given the nature of the upcoming season.

"We surveyed our membership and we polled some businesses in a focus group to ask how valuable a job fair would be. We also had some conversations with large employers in town as well as past job fair participants," said Famulak.

"We pulled a lot of the information together and in analyzing it we concluded a job fair would not be the best use of our resources this year and that we could help businesses more effectively by doing something different."

The chamber discovered that many businesses don't plan to start hiring their employees for the Olympic period until late December or early January. Many companies don't know what exactly their needs will be during the Games, explained Famulak, and they are hoping to get as far as possible with their current staff before hiring more.

She added other businesses in Whistler have already hired all the staff they need for next season.

However, even though the chamber will not be hosting a physical job fair this autumn, Famulak stressed the chamber still plans to help employers match up with employees this season.

The chamber will have a "range of tools available" to help businesses navigate the hiring process in the coming winter seasons. The details on their programs will be fleshed out during their Oct. 15 luncheon.

The luncheon will address four main questions:

• What are the latest human resource trends in the Sea to Sky corridor;

• What are Whistler Blackcomb and the Vancouver Organizing Committee's human resource plans;

• What are creative ways businesses can recruit for both the winter season and February 2010; and

• How can businesses retain employees throughout the coming winter season.

Famulak added the job fair won't be scratched out permanently.

"The vision at the chamber is to see the job fair return in 2010 and for it to be more of a job and career fair," said Famulak.

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