Victoria job fairs highlight alarming trends

Job fair organizer says the job hunt has changed in the past decade

Victorians may boast some of the lowest official unemployment numbers in Canada, but statistics gathered at local job fairs are highlighting alarming trends, say organizers.

Since last November, GT Hiring Solutions has hosted three hiring fairs, the most recent attracting more than 1,100 people and 42 employers at a downtown church on March 6.

“We had 118 seniors (ages 55 and up) show up,” said Garth Yoneda, GT’s community relations manager for Vancouver Island. “There are so many people at the end of their careers who are looking for work.”

Job fairs in November and February attracted similar numbers, but Yoneda was concerned nearly 30 per cent of attendees at this month’s fair were already employed.

“People are looking for another job because salaries are so pitiful out there,” he said. “In the past, attendance at job fairs was parallel to unemployment. Now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Women also appear more motivated and willing to attend job fairs immediately after losing a job or graduating, Yoneda said. Half of women at the fair reported searching for work within the first month, while only 34 per cent of men reported the same.

“Males and females looking for work for more than six months are about the same statistically. But females are looking a lot harder at the beginning of unemployment. We don’t know what that’s about yet, but it helps us know who we should be targeting.”

GT Hiring Solutions is one of about 70 organizations across B.C. that delivers job search training and support through provincial government funding.

Yoneda said the job hunt has changed in the past decade, and many larger organizations now screen applicants using keyword-scanning software or other online filtering methods. Using a hiring centre for help with a resume or cover letter can make a big difference, he said.

“There are tips and tricks for some of these application processes. You have to know how to apply. Island Health told me they would be surprised if they didn’t get at least 35 hires out of this month’s job fair.”

The event also attracted volunteer organizations such as Beacon Community Services, Community Living Victoria and Victoria Youth Empowerment Society. Look for details on the next hiring fair at


Help to hire people with disabilities

Community Living Victoria, GT Hiring Solutions and the province are hoping to convince more employers to hire people with disabilities.

“Some people can only work for about two hours at a time, but that doesn’t work for many employers,” says Garth Yoneda of GT Hiring Solutions. “So the challenge is finding a place where people can continue to do shorter shifts, perhaps at assisted care homes, or larger organizations that can accommodate that type of work.”

On April 1, Yoneda and his colleagues are hosting a complimentary breakfast for employers from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Hotel Grand Pacific to discuss the benefits of inclusive workplaces. Speakers include Don McRae, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, Frank Bouree of Chemistry Consulting and representatives from Thrifty Foods, Saanich Police Department and others.

For more information, call Community Living Victoria at 250-477-7231 or email employment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria Police Department vehicle outside the headquarters building. VicPD (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after Victoria restaurant worker punched, thrown to the ground

Police say woman was found lying on the sidewalk with non-life threatening injuries

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
ATM at North Saanich high school torched during early morning break-and-enter

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school

Victoria police are investigating after several vehicles were smashed and a basement was flooded along lower Cook Street March 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating smashed vehicles, flooded basement on Cook Street

Police seeking witnesses, footage of several ‘mischief’ incidents

The Berwick Retirement Communities’ 2021 Spin-A-Thon event on Feb. 23 raised more than $7,100 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Berwick Spin-A-Thon raises more than $7,000 for Heart and Stroke Foundation

Two centenarians among participants in second annual all-day pedal event

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating sudden death in Beacon Hill Park

Police, paramedics responded to a report of an unresponsive person early Wednesday

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Intiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforecment, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read