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High-paying jobs going unfilled despite high unemployment in Calgary: officials

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WATCH: Even amid high unemployment in Calgary, some companies in the city are now facing an unusual challenge. As Gil Tucker reports, at a time of year when it's all hands on deck, they can't find enough hands – Sep 18, 2018

Right in the middle of the busiest time of their year, Calgary furnace companies are facing a new challenge this September: even at a time of high unemployment, they’re having a tough time finding people to work for them.

“We are very surprised.” Alberta Home Services’ Shelley Rudd said. “With the unemployment levels right now, we thought it would be very easy to hire and train.”

Her company has been trying to recruit new employees over the summer, but still has about 10 jobs unfilled.

READ MORE: Alberta unemployment steady at 6.7 % in August; Calgary has second highest unemployment rate in Canada

Another furnace company contacted by Global News Tuesday is facing the same challenge; it’s only got two of its five service trucks on the road because it can’t find enough workers to run them.

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This comes at a time of year when the companies’ services are in high demand.

With winter on the way, many customers need their furnaces and ducts cleaned.

READ MORE: Does your furnace need servicing before long Saskatchewan winter ahead?

The fact they’re having trouble recruiting may be sign of the times, and not necessarily a bad one.

“Folks are starting to hire again, so that’s a good sign,” Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO Sandip Lalli said. “That’s probably what’s happening here with [Alberta Home Services] as well. They’ve got enough work (and) they’re trying to hire.”

“This is a very lucrative form of employment for unskilled labourers,” Rudd said. “Some of our technicians will make over $100,000 a year.”

Dylan Krueger is now in his second week as a furnace service technician with Alberta Home Services and said he finds it hard to believe recruiting is so difficult.

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“It’s weird because there’s lots of opportunity with the company, lots of room to grow,” Krueger said. “I’m an ex-righand myself and I spent three years looking for work, and I found this job. I’m not going anywhere.”

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