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Seeking shelter in a storm

Housing search more competitive this year during flurry of job fairs

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“Whereas before, anybody would move in and we’d talk to them about the fact that they had to be staff, but they could use this for short-term accommodation, whether or not they were really truly planning to work for us or not.”

They’ve also separated their waitlist, creating one list, for people who have applied for the fair but haven’t been hired yet, and then an actual waiting list for confirmed employees. As of Nov. 6, there were 388 people on the applicant list and only 18 people on the waitlist. Anyone offered jobs will be moved off the applicant list and onto the waitlist, then into House as beds become available.

In September, Good says they knew most of their beds were spoken for in the upcoming season, so they let staff know that they should start looking for alternate housing arrangements for the upcoming season.

This year, staff housing will be for first-year employees only.

“We used to be able to keep a few returning seasonal staff, and now what we say is we still value them as much or more than anybody, but they’ve learned the ins and outs of Whistler,” said Good.

Jodi Annett, coordinator of the Whistler Employment Resources Centre, said they are expecting 800 to 1,000 job seekers at their annual job fair, and have had about 40 employers sign up. She says finding a place for employees to live is high on the priority list of many companies looking to hire in Whistler this year.

“Employers are definitely focusing more on providing housing to potential staff now, more so now than in the past, so that’s part of their recruiting strategy.”

The WERC fair will be held on November 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Telus Conference Centre, and the Whistler-Blackcomb fair began Tuesday and runs through Nov. 10 at the Blackcomb Daylodge.

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