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More students looking for summer jobs leads to competitive market

It wasn't long ago many businesses were struggling to hire enough people to meet their staffing needs. It wasn't long ago many businesses were struggling to hire enough people to meet their staffing needs.
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LETHBRIDGE -

It wasn't long ago many businesses were struggling to hire enough people to meet their staffing needs.

The Duke Pub and Grill was having staffing issues as recently as last year.

Now, they're getting about 15 to 20 people a week coming in looking for a job.

"There's a lot of applicants and not a lot of vacancies. So, it's kind of nice. I have a very reliable staff and haven't had many issues with staffing, which is nice. But at the same time, there's a high unemployment rate. It's a tough job market," said Kieran Meeks, general manager at the Duke.

More teenagers and young adults entering the workforce make job hunting more competitive.

That's left many students frustrated with constant rejections from jobs.

"I think overall, it is very difficult for students, mainly because there's a high level of competition for entry-level positions. And for other positions, they usually require an extensive amount of experience that students are still in the process of gaining," said Lulya Michael, vice-president external of the University of Lethbridge Student Union.

Some employers have been trying to hire summer workers through the Canada Summer Jobs grant.

But even with the grant, it's difficult to come close to hiring most who apply.

"Many of our summer positions are filled through that grant but we received less than half of what we applied for. We're really grateful for the 20 positions in our summer camps but we're always looking for more ways to serve the community," said Kristina Larkin, director of community development for the YMCA of Lethbridge.

The U of L Student Union has heard from many students fed up with the summer job market.

The union would like to see employers focus on how they can create opportunities geared toward post-secondary students.

"It is highly beneficial for employers to host co-op programs and internships because students are very reliable – if they like a job, they'll most likely come back year after year," Michael said.

According to Statistics Canada, as of April, the unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24 is 12.8 per cent.

That's the highest unemployment rate since July 2016 not including the COVID pandemic.  

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