Students face fewer summer job opportunities as employers navigate COVID-19 restrictions

The search for a summer gig is on, but some students are struggling to find work with so many businesses closed during pandemic shutdowns.

"I am lucky to say I am starting my third work term as of this week as a business analyst," said Maisha Adil.

Adil is a health studies student at the University of Waterloo and knows that she's fortunate to find work through her co-op placement, but for other students the experience hasn't been as seamless.

"I would definitely not say the majority of students have summer jobs, there's no question about that. I will say that employers are committed to students though, where it is possible. So they are certainly still seeing some employer activity," said Jan Basso, assistant Vice President of experiential learning and career development at Wilfrid Laurier University.

For the second summer in a row, businesses are facing restrictions and temporary shutdowns, which impacts employees as well.

GolfNorth Properties runs 33 golf courses in the province, including Conestoga Golf & Country Club, and says the ever-changing restrictions make planning staffing nearly impossible.

"We're going to be in the middle of May and desperately trying to hire staff and so is everybody else and we're going to have trouble," said Doug Breen, regional vice president of GolfNorth.

As a result of the provincial shutdown, GolfNorth had to lay off about 400 people across its courses, but say as soon as they’re given the green light to reopen they’ll immediately start the process of hiring staff once again

Meanwhile, THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener is hoping to hire about 30 summer positions, which include jobs for its camp program, if it's allowed to go ahead.

"We're about to next week, put up some job postings," said CEO of THEMUSEUM David Marskell. "We're ready to go with them we've got our training all in place."

As for Bingemans, another big spot for summer jobs, the company says it is hiring about 25 per cent fewer staff than a typical summer, but there will still be a number of open positions.