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Temporary holiday season jobs in Manitoba are hard to find. Now what?

Click to play video: 'Seasonal job options' Seasonal job options
With Manitoba's non-essential retail stores closed to in-store shopping because of coronavirus restrictions, those hoping for seasonal work might be out of luck. But experts say there are other options. – Dec 3, 2020

With Manitoba’s non-essential retail stores closed to in-store shopping because of coronavirus restrictions, those hoping to find seasonal work in a mall, for example, might be out of luck, but experts say there are other options.

John Graham with the Retail Council of Canada said “mall-type” retail seasonal jobs typically build-up the workforce in Manitoba by about 10 per cent, or more than 6,000 positions, during the holiday season.

The seasonal employment numbers for this year won’t be available for another several weeks, but Graham suspects they won’t look like they usually do.

“The retail sector is very sick,” Graham said. “It’s a reflection of the significant health issues that we’re dealing with as a province.”

Read more: Further restrictions possible as Manitoba businesses find ways to stay open amid lockdowns

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While there are some opportunities to land a seasonal job helping a store with something like curbside pickup, Graham said the growth he’s seeing is subtle.

“Brick-and-mortar Manitoba-based retail sales are down substantially,” Graham said. “As a result, we’re seeing less jobs in the sector and less need for temporary positions because those employees that were within the business are eagerly accepting additional hours.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19’s effect on holiday shopping trends' COVID-19’s effect on holiday shopping trends
COVID-19’s effect on holiday shopping trends – Nov 10, 2020

However, the pandemic has created new seasonal jobs, according to Jason Gill, vice president of Staffmax Staffing & Recruiting.

“COVID has brought us opportunities for people to do warehousing and administration related to personal protective equipment that needs to be distributed throughout the city and throughout the country … as well as companies [needing] cleaners,” Gill said.

Read more: Downtown Winnipeg’s iconic Hudson’s Bay store closed for good as of Monday, company says

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The new temporary jobs Gill is seeing likely aren’t enough to cover the number of traditional jobs typically available this time of year, but he said they offer more hours.

“There’s not as much part-time work as in companies needing that retail person for three hours every Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Gill said.

“What we’re seeing is our clients are really coming to us with full-time, 40-hours-a-week jobs … so I think there are still a lot of jobs out there hours-wise, but there might be less people being employed because one person is working for eight hours instead of two people working for four hours.”

Gill expects some of the new jobs to still be around even after the holidays are over.

Click to play video: 'Impact of non-essential shopping changes' Impact of non-essential shopping changes
Impact of non-essential shopping changes – Nov 23, 2020

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