Dawson City, Yukon, faces labour shortage as tourism revives

·2 min read
Dawson City in May 2020. The city is facing a labour shortage as it gets set to welcome more tourists after 2 quiet years due to the pandemic. (Ben Steffes-Lai - image credit)
Dawson City in May 2020. The city is facing a labour shortage as it gets set to welcome more tourists after 2 quiet years due to the pandemic. (Ben Steffes-Lai - image credit)

As Dawson City, Yukon, gets set to welcome tourists after two quiet years due to the pandemic, the community is facing a new challenge: it doesn't have enough people to fill all the jobs to welcome those tourists.

"We have about 162 jobs that are posted at Klondike Outreach here in Dawson," said Ricky Mawunganidze, executive director of the Klondike Visitor Association, referring to a job website.

"You could argue that we have probably 300 positions that are available and that need to be filled."

He said many people moved away during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added his organization's main goal right now is to fill the vacant jobs by inviting those who moved away back, and new people to come.

Housing shortage

The labour shortage in Dawson City is the biggest challenge facing Northern Vision Development (NVD), according to Adam Gerle, its vice-president of marketing.

He said part of the problem is the lack of housing in the community.

"It's tough to get housing for some folks," said Gerle.

He said the company, which owns hotels in Dawson City with the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Trust and Tr'ochëk Limited Partnership, invested in staff housing to attract people.

He said the labour shortage has forced the company to run reduced hours at their food and beverage outlets.

It's also bringing in employees from its hotels in Whitehorse to fill some shifts in Dawson City.

"It is a great opportunity if people want to get into the tourism industry. This is the time to get into the job of your choice," he said.

Mawunganidze said people who are looking for a job this summer in the tourism and hospitality sector have a very good chance of getting hired in the Klondike.

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