Winter means snow… and seasonal employment! What are the best outdoor jobs to search for in cold weather?
“Outdoor jobs in winter are generally related to skiing and the outdoors,” says William Bérubé, recruitment adviser at Groupe Perspective. But for him, there is no doubt that the most sought after worker when the cold season comes is the one who knows how… to install winter tires!
Tire installers wanted
“There is a real shortage of labour… In Quebec it’s a real scourge. Don’t try to have an oil change done in the weeks around November 15, it’s impossible,” the recruiter testifies.
Garages call on the recruitment company for periods lasting a few months, at the beginning and end of winter specifically, to fill this lack. With an hourly wage of 14 or 15 dollars an hour, or “a little more to keep them on”, garages compete for access to skilled labour.
Landscapers in summer, snow removers in winter
The other leading seasonal sector is snow removal for private homes, says William Bérubé. “It’s especially well paying for landscaping contractors who already have the equipment; they only have to change their machinery’s blade for a snow shovel.”
According to the recruiter, fewer people are starting such a business on their own. To be taken into account is the weather, an uncontrollable factor but so important in the finances of the snow removal contractor! “A year with lots of snow, during which the contractor has to go out four times a week and overuse his equipment, is not worthwhile,” says William Bérubé.
With the snow and winter also come the festivals and carnivals. “The Carnaval de Québec, for example, enables many people to be hired, both in direct and indirect jobs,” says William Bérubé. Think, for example, of the restaurant and hotel sectors, etc. “Everyone benefits,” he says, even if the jobs are temporary.
Outdoor jobs are low paying, but…
Michel Landry, a young professional, worked for ChamoX, a small company located in the Eastern Townships which offers training in rock and ice climbing, as well as coaching in outdoor events organized at parties and festivals. He was paid 15 or 16 dollars an hour, part time. “You’re not going to get rich with this job,” he admits, even though there are other benefits.
In the same vein, alpine ski or snowboard monitors in Quebec are barely paid for their work. They pay the cost of training as a monitor out of their own pocket as well as the coat with the resort’s colours, and they are required to spend their weekends on the mountain, for pay that its close to the minimum wage.
More than salary
This type of job nonetheless has other benefits, Michel Landry reminds us. It gives access to training programs that would normally cost hundreds of dollars. Ski monitors who work in the resort can follow continuous training workshops and have unlimited access to the mountain. These are privileges worth their weight in gold!
“I have had the opportunity to be trained by extremely qualified mountain guides,” recalls Michel Landry. For him, this was the main attraction to working for ChamoX during three seasons. In exchange for his time and modest pay, he obtained expertise that has no price.