Two Collingwood businesses have kicked off a friendly competition to see who can find a new electrician to add to their workforce complement first.
The stakes? The losing business will have to pose in tutus.
Amp Champ, a residential electrical company, and Universal Integrated Solutions, an industrial electrical company, share a workspace in Collingwood and the owners of both companies, who are also mother and son, say they have struggled to fill gaps in their workforces since January which led to the idea for the competition.
“I have been trying to hire for about a half a year. I’ve spent quite a bit of money on the hiring process by putting ads out,” said Silke Boker, office manager and co-owner of Amp Champ. “We have not been successful through that.”
“The stress is still there because we don’t have enough staff for the amount of calls we’re getting,” she said. “I turn so many calls away every day.”
Silke says the increase in population to the area since COVID-19 has added to their workload as many want to have renovations done on their homes.
“Our electricians are worn out. It’s a lot on them,” she added, noting that jobs are also taking more time due to materials shortages.
“It’s been a difficult season.”
Christoph Boker, co-owner and master electrician for Universal Integrated Solutions, says he’s also been looking to hire a licensed electrician for months.
“We put about $2,000 into job postings and only one potentially qualified candidate applied, but it wasn’t a perfect fit either,” he said. “We can’t keep up.”
“There’s lots of work and not enough people,” said Christoph. “A lot of electricians retired as well.”
The idea for the competition first came from Silke, as a way to turn a stressful hiring situation into something more fun and lighthearted, hoping that might help the overall situation.
“I’m committed to my staff, Amp Champ and my clients, and I wanted to turn it around. They need to know how much we care for them,” said Silke. “I’m sure there are people out there that may know good, licensed electricians.”
The whole team of the losing company will be required to don the tutus, with the length of time to be determined.
“It will mostly be for photos, but if they feel comfortable, they can work for the day in the tutu,” says Christoph, with a laugh.
The two companies already have a close working relationship and regularly refer clients to each other, sometimes sharing employees when needed.
“There is overlap, but there can be some differences in skill sets,” said Christoph.
Silke said ideal employees, in addition to being licensed electricians, should also be willing to be trained to keep up with the latest technologies, have a valid driver’s licence and vehicle and value good customer service while also being a team player.
“We really want people who will work together and have each other’s backs,” said Christoph. “There’s a huge demand for skilled trades, not just electricians. Anyone who’s looking for a career change should seriously consider it. There’s a lot of demand and rewards. There are some really cool projects you get to work on.”