With resumes in hand, job seekers like Gins Thomas flocked to the Teamworks Career Centre job fair on Thursday.
“I kind of feel like it’s hard to get the jobs through online, so here we can talk to each other and be in front of each other.
“We can explain a bit more detail, in terms of our qualifications and experience,” said Thomas.
On the other side of the table, Richardson Oilseeds used the fair to promote the company as an employment option.
“We are currently looking for positions right now and we thought we would use this opportunity to get out to the public and meet individuals one on one,” said Krista MacNeil with Richardson Oilseeds.
Another prospective employee, Sheila Alho, took the time to discover new career opportunities.
“There is more options and I think I need to open my mind a little bit more because I’ve always done the same thing. It would be good if I can go home and do more research because I am just starting to see what’s there.”
Trevor Lewington with Economic development Lethbridge said employment rates have returned to pre-pandemic numbers but it’s still very much a job seekers’ market. He added construction gained almost 1,000 jobs and retail and wholesale have recovered, but some sectors haven’t faired as well.
“There are of course some industries where we have seen declines — public health and assistance is a category that of course would include nurses but also social services and things like that, services that are no longer in such demand,” added Lewington.
He said many employers are also dealing with significant challenges in a very competitive market.
“We have seen wages come up slightly as there has been inflationary pressures that we are all feeling, so we have seen the average wages increase in the Lethbridge market.”
Heather Kerr with Pepsico said inflation has changed the job search dynamic and some people’s priorities.
“With gas prices and inflation, people are maybe thinking about working a little closer to home or ‘hey can I walk there or bike there?’ so we are seeing that impact.”
As of April, the employment participation rate in the Lethbridge area — meaning the proportion of the population either working or actively seeking employment — was sitting at 65.2 per cent.
That is higher than the pre-pandemic rate and positive news in what has been a tight labour market.
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