Moving up north for work might seem daunting, but Alaska’s
humble capital of Juneau is a genuinely great place to work. Most people come
up here for the big paychecks, but end up staying for the stunning scenery,
relaxed pace of life and sense of community.
Most job searchers tend to overlook Juneau for bigger fish
like Anchorage and Fairbanks. In the past, this made a lot of sense, though
nowadays Juneau isn’t the quiet backwater it once was – at least in the summer
months! So, how hard is it to snag a summer gig in Juneau?
To start with, it’s worth noting there’s really only two
games in town: public sector employment and tourism. Once upon a time, public
sector jobs were much easier to get, but the current global oil price collapse
means these jobs are rarer than ever before. Moreover, temporary tourism jobs
are probably of most interest to seasonal workers anyway. Job openings are
common, the wages are generally quite good, and the work can be a lot of fun.
Anyone looking for tourism work around Juneau can expect to be looking at
offering guide or transportation services to interstate visitors.
Most companies provide some basic training before the season
starts, and some even help out with accommodation. A commercial drivers license
is highly valued, and often essential. You may also be asked for a Class C
Alaskan CDL, and a first aid certificate can give you an edge during the
Before applying for anything, it’s worth emphasizing that
you must carefully research your potential employer, and the nature of the work
on offer. As the Department of Labor and Workforce Development states on its
website, “Myths and misinformation about Alaska are rampant.” Moreover, basic
infrastructure and public services you might expect in other states can
sometimes simply not exist in Alaska. Keep that in mind.
Having said that, the best places to start looking for jobs
around Juneau are job listing sites. The most popular of these include www.backdoorjobs.com
Meanwhile, www.alaska-summer-jobs.com collates job offers
from across Alaska, with a focus on summer gigs.
Gastineau Guiding is also worth a look. They’re
one of the larger tour operators around, and often have job openings beginning
around mid-April each year.
Once you’ve got a job lined up, you’ll find Juneau a very
welcoming place to live. It’s a small, tight nit community, and locals are
always keen to meet new people. The countryside around Juneau is wild and
rugged, and is a dream for any one keen on the great outdoors. Within minutes,
you can be hiking across a glacier, or exploring some ice caves. Climate wise,
Juneau isn’t as cold as you may expect, but the wind and rain can be brutal. Be
prepared for some serious weather! Another major downside to living in Juneau is
the cost of living. Housing and food are particularly expensive, so budget
accordingly. All things considered though, most seasonal workers return home
with more money than they left with, and experiences to last a lifetime.